Bureau Veritas is investigating further opportunities related to the iron ore trade and Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOC) in a bid to expand its presence in the dry bulk carrier sector.
Konstaninos Chatzitolios, Bulk Carrier Manager, BV, said the society expected further growth in this market triggered by Australian and Brazilian iron ore production. “Our current research points to the fact that important technical aspects for VLOCs like whipping and springing should be considered in the design of these vessels and that a rethinking of current practices is necessary,” he said. “By the end of 2016, BV is planning to update its rules for VLOCs and to include these technical aspects, drawing on knowledge and experience gained from the Ultra Large Container ships of the fleet. These vessels have similar dimensions and, to some extent, homogeneous structural responses.”
As of June 2016, bulk carriers represented 36% of the BV fleet in tonnage terms and 25% of BV's revenues from its Marine Division.This corresponded to 1053 vessels of 40.6mGT, with an average age of just below eight years. Chatzitolios said that the 4% year-on-year tonnage growth recorded by the BV fleet had outperformed global fleet growth, giving BV a slight increase in market share. “This growth is due to the inflow of new vessels but also to the choice of many ship owners to change their existing vessels to BV Class,” he said.“67 such bulk carriers have switched to BV since the beginning of 2015.”
However, due to the current stagnating new building market, the BV orderbook has decreased to 70 vessels and 3.3mGT, reflecting the shrinkage of the global orderbook. “Based on current market dynamics we don't expect a rebound of this market within 2016 while delivery deferrals and order cancellations are expected to continue,” he added.
During the past three years, BV has focused on updating the software tools used for the design review of bulk carriers in order to reduce the approval time of drawings for yards and owners. The society has also developed a portfolio of services aimed at assisting designers to improve the energy efficiency of new designs and reducing air emissions. “To this end, last year BV acquired HydrOcean which specializes in CFD hull form and appendages optimization and is considered among the top expert companies in their field,” said Chatzitolios. “ In addition, we have expanded the capabilities of our software SEECAT, used for improving the overall energy usage onboard ships, by adding new functionalities and modelled equipment.”