Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. announced plans to expand its bulkship fleet by 60 vessels from April 2007 to the first half of 2012.
The growth strategies in the company’s midterm management plan MOL ADVANCE call for a concentration of management resources on growing fields in the ocean shipping industry. Ocean cargo trade in dry bulk cargo is expected to grow about 3% growth annually, and as trade diversifies, cargo will have to be transported longer distances. In addition, efforts to eliminate aging vessels will rapidly accelerate. Another factor will be the rapid expansion of domestic coastal transport in China and India, which is forecast to grow by 15% every year, particularly in coal and grain. In light of these conditions, MOL expects a firm supply and demand situation for bulk carriers, and decided on this fleet expansion initiative.
There are about 2,700 Small Handy bulkers and 1,500 Handy Max vessels around the world. More than half of the Small Handy vessels and more than 20% of the Handy Max ships are over 20 years old. The movement to eliminate these aged vessels has accelerated because of concerns about safe operation.