As the smallest of the deep seafaring bulk carrier vessels, the Handysize bulker is an essential part of the global dry bulk fleet. The bedrock of the global bulker industry, Handysize vessels have the advantage of flexibility in quick shipments, lower draft restrictions and rapid turnaround times. Traditionally considered as any bulk carrier in the size area between 15,000 dwt and 40,000 dwt, strict definitions vary. Classic Handysize bulker sizes, however, include 28,000 dwt, 32,000 dwt and 38,000 dwt.
The ability of Handysize bulkers to load and discharge from small ports makes them especially attractive for regional trade. A typical Handysize vessel is fitted with cranes-geared in shipping parlance-which allows further flexibility in that such a vessel can load and discharge cargoes at ports that lack their own cranes or cargo loading infrastructure. The ability to transport a wide variety of cargo types is another strength of Handysize vessels, with these ships known for handling all manner of cargoes including minerals, ores, fertilizers, timber, woodchips, break bulk cargoes, grains, steel products and cement, among any number of other niche dry bulks.
Since 1983, Brokers Market & Trend Information (BMTI) has specialized in supplying a high quality and up-to-the-minute information service for the international dry bulk shipping industry. BMTI is an independent publisher, drawing its information from a worldwide network of private & public correspondents, news agencies, market players as well as subscriber contributions.
The foundation of the dry bulk fleet, Handysizes make up the largest share, by number, of all the bulker size classes with around 2,000 such vessels currently in operation around the world. Despite being the most numerous of bulker sizes, Handysizes are among the oldest on average of all bulkers given that they are the least ordered newbuilding vessel among bulk carriers. Some 40% of Handysizes are 15 years of age or older. Given the relatively flat growth of the Handysize fleet capacity, especially compared to the larger sizes, the Handysize freight market is the most stable (i.e. least volatile) of all bulker freight markets, making it a solid sector for safe investments.