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Global seabourne iron ore imports forecast flat from 2016 - 24: NYK

Global seabourne iron ore imports forecast flat from 2016 - 24: NYK
In sobering news for the dry bulk market seabourne iron ore imports are set to be flat in the coming years according to research from NYK.

Yasumi Kudo, chairman of the Japanese Shipowners’ Association, speaking at Sea Japan 2016, presented figures that global iron import shipments had peaked in 2015 at just under 1.4bn tonnes. Sea Japan is organised by UBM.

The research from NYK, of which Kudo is also chairman, projected that global seabourne iron ore imports would remain almost flat at just under 1.4bn tonnes through 2016 – 2024.

“Iron ore isn’t going to grow in the future,” he said.

China which has seen a massive growth in demand for imported iron ore to hit the 1bn tonne mark is forecast as having a marginal decline between 2016 and 2024.

Chinese iron ore demand growth has driven a major increase in size in the capesize fleet. NYK for example increased its capesize fleet from 71 vessels, with 10m dwt in 2004 to 123 vessels with 23.86m dwt in 2015, an increase of 137%.

Seabourne coal exports will also see a slowdown with China’s import volumes already seeing a decline.

From a 2015 level of just under 1.2bn tonnes volume growth in 2016 is expected to be flat according to NYK but rising to just under 1.4bn tonnes by 2024.

“For iron ore and coal movements we cannot really expect that level of growth as before, “ Kudo said. While previous growth levels had reflected a combination of both GDP and population growth, in future it would match the low end of GDP growth.

“Competition will be fierce,” he warned.