INTERCARGO Benchmarking Bulk Carriers (13th Edition), 2020-2021 Edition

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The Benchmarking Report is one of INTERCARGO’s initiatives in its pursuit of a safe, efficient, high quality and environmentally friendly dry cargo shipping industry.

Information is provided on:

  • The state of the global fleet, including total tonnage, deliveries and scrapping
  • performance by Class, Flag and P&I Club, including number of detentions and deficiencies
  • performance of INTERCARGO-entered ships
  • recorded incidents, negative performance indicators and casualty trends
  • regional MoU annual white/grey/black lists and the USCG targeted flag list
  • Port State Control and the Concentrated Inspection Campaign.


    INTERCARGO’s – Who we are

    INTERCARGO Membership

    Definitions and Abbreviations

    1. Foreword/Executive Summary
    2. Global Fleet and Market Trends
    3. Casualty Reporting
    4. Class
    5. Flag
    6. INTERCARGO – Entered Ships’ Performance
    7. Owner’s Benchmarking
    8. Negative Performance Indicators
    9. Protection and Indemnity
    10. Port State Control
    11. INTERCARGO Benchmarking Projects



    As we leave behind 2021, we must reflect on the three Cs which have dominated our lives looking back over the past two years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future – Covid-19, COP26 and the Clydebank Declaration.

    The Covid-19 pandemic although in some respects has decreased in intensity it is still causing major difficulties for our seafarers and the manner in which they continue to be treated when trying to join or leave ships whilst going about their legitimate business. It is encouraging to note that some governments are taking the concerns of industry seriously and are taking steps to assist with vaccinations, repatriation and general assistance where required but still more needs to be done.

    INTERCARGO continues to work with other industry bodies and regulatory authorities in trying to bring about the necessary changes to address the hardships caused by this hostile and unpredictable affliction on the society in which we live.

    It is remarkable how the dry bulk industry continues to function supplying the worlds’ essential needs with continued optimism both stoically and uncomplaining throughout this pandemic and for that we are grateful.

    At the COP26 summit a new global agreement – the Glasgow Climate Pact – was reached. This non legally binding agreement will set the global agenda on climate change for the next decade to which end it was agreed countries will meet next year to pledge further cuts to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) to try to keep temperature rises within 1.5°C – which scientists say is required to prevent a “climate catastrophe”.

    Of particular interest to INTERCARGO members was the Clydebank declaration which is an ambitious global initiative encouraging Governments to form Clydebank Partnerships, in which two or more signatory members pledge to working toward decarbonising a shared maritime route forming a Green Corridor, considering the need to stimulate investment in fuels. The signatories of the Clydebank Declaration (20 countries at present) will establish zero-emission maritime routes between two or more routes. These routes are called green shipping corridors. The objective is to establish six green corridors by the middle of the decade, that is by 2025.

    Of significant interest and for the first time at a COP conference, there was an explicit plan to reduce use of coal – which is responsible for 40% of annual CO2 emissions. The agreed commitment is to “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal after a late intervention by China and India.

    The present benchmarking report has remained unchanged in content since it was first issued some 12 years ago and continues to evaluate the bulk carrier industry through numerous performance indicators of which the highlights are as follows:

    Global Fleet and Market Trends

    The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) started 2021 at 1,504 and then steadily climbed until reaching a record high on October 7th of 5,639, a number that has not been seen since 2004. There followed a steady decrease until December 31st when the BDI ended the year at 2,248, still an overall increase of 744 from the beginning of the year.

    Casualty reporting

    Twenty-seven (27) bulk carriers over 10,000 dwt have been identified as total losses over the years 2012 to 2021. Cargo shift and liquefaction remain the greatest contributors to loss of life and groundings remain the greatest causes of ship losses. As demonstrated by the tables and graphs in this section the trend in lives and vessels lost has been significantly improving year on year over the last 28 years which is something to be justifiably proud of.

    Classification Societies

    The twelve IACS Members have almost 94% of the global bulk carrier market having increased their market share by more than 2% since 2019, with ClassNK still holding the top spot with over 33%. However, the average IACS members’ detention percentage and DPI have also increased.


    In 2021, eighty-eight Registries, on behalf of the Flag States, provided certification, documentation and other services with the purpose of ensuring compliance with national and international regulations and conventions.

    Out of the 88, fourteen (14) have fleets of 100 bulk carriers or more and account for approximately 89% of the global bulker fleet or 10,699 vessels.

    Table 5.2 clearly shows that the Flags with the largest share are Panama, Marshall Islands and Liberia with the Marshall Islands and Liberia managing to increase their fleets year on year.

    INTERCARGO  Entered Ships’ Performance

    The tables and graphs in Chapter 6 show a disappointing increase in the number of detentions for the INTERCARGO registered fleet versus the total dry bulk fleet which has returned to the levels of pre-2020. Also of note is the flattening of DPI rates since 2019 but unfortunately this is accompanied by a continued rise in detention rates over the same period both for the INTERCARGO registered fleet and for industry as a whole.

    Owners’ benchmarking

    As shown in Chapter 6, INTERCARGO-registered vessels continue to outperform the industry both in terms of Detention Rates (DTR) and Deficiencies per Inspection ratios (DPIs).

    Negative Performance Indicators

    Comparing 2021’s figures against the two previous Benchmarking Reports shown in the tables and figures in Chapter 8, it can be seen that hull/machinery damage remains the top NPI at around 30% of all recorded incidents with collisions taking the number 2 slot at 23% showing an increase over previous years. On a positive note, groundings continue to decline as have allisions although fires and explosions have seen an increase over 2020.

    Protection and Indemnity

    The market share enjoyed by the Members of the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG) remains close to 90% year on year while the market share of the non-IG Clubs has seen a marginal increase from 13.6% to 15.7%. In performance terms measured in deficiencies per inspection (DPI) Members of the IG Clubs continues to record significantly less than the rest of the industry at DPI 1.46 versus 2.34.

    Port State Control (PSC)

    Chapter 10 provides the statistics for the 9 regional PSC authorities where it can be seen that in terms of deficiencies per inspection (DPI) and detentions AMSA records the highest. When comparing bulk carrier detention rates versus other ship types performance in the Indian Ocean MoU area is significantly better at 1.39% versus 3.09%.

    INTERCARGO continues to receive complaints about PSCOs at some ports regarding facilitating payments.

    More feedback from Members would help us to strengthen our collective effort in pushing relevant MoU regimes and their Members to take stricter control and be more transparent with their internal self-discipline measures. Readers are encouraged to report any attempts at bribery or other corrupt practices that are bought to your attention.

    Members and non-Members of our Association are encouraged to continue participating in INTERCARGO’s Reporting Schemes, including ‘Ship-Terminal Interface Experiences and Problems’ and ‘Safe Loading/Unloading at Anchorage’, as well as ‘Benchmarking crew injury frequency and lost time’.

    Thank you for your continued support in all our endeavours to improve the safe operations of the dry bulk fleet globally.

    The INTERCARGO secretariat


    Published Date: March 2022
    Book Height: 300 mm
    Book Width: 210 mm
    Weight: 0.6 kg
    Author: INTERCARGO

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