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Categories>>Shipping>>Current Report

Self-Unloading, Hybrid & Geared Bulk Carriers

Published Date :  May Add to Cart - Self-Unloading, Hybrid & Geared Bulk Carriers

Continuously self-unloading vessels can offer significantly lower transport costs than conventional geared and gearless bulk carriers. These depend on achieving the right combination of shipping and port economies, in order to offset higher capital costs.

Recent developments have focused on the use of “hybrid” vessels to achieve some of the benefits of self-unloaders for a lower investment cost, Such developments have widened the scope of the market, especially for short-term contracts.

Self-unloaders have found increasing employment on the American east coast, in northern Europe and East Asia. There are growing opportunities for self-unloaders in the developing world, where expansion in throughput co-exists with sparse port and terminal investment.

As well as exploring recent market trends and prospects for self-unloading and hybrid bulk carriers, this study examines the economies of self-unloading, hybrid, geared and gearless vessels in detail. Voyage and terminal costs are explored for different types and sizes of vessel and notional case studies are used to illustrate the econoniics of different trades.

A growing world fleet has boosted the opportunities for developing spot trades to add to the traditional long-term contracts for set tonnages of particular cargoes. It has also created a second-hand market.

The report covers the following topics:

  • The development of the ocean-going self-unloading bulk carrier fleet.
  • Recent and ongoing newbuildings and conversions.
  • The growing number of “hybrids”.
  • Types of self-unloading system - including top-reclaiming, gravity-based and hybrid systems.
  • Analysis of the fleet by region of deployment, deadweight capacity, age of vessel, type of discharge gear, country and yard of construction or conversion.
  • Self-unloading cement carriers.
  • Self-unloading bulk carrier trades and operators, including profiles of their fleets, trades and regions of deployment.
  • The development of the geared bulk carrier market.
  • Recent and forecast freight market developments.
  • Detailed comparisons of the economies of self-unloading and hybrid bulk carriers with conventional geared and gearless carriers.
  • Notional case studies on the economics of particular self-unloader trades and potential trades.
  • Forecast development of the ocean-going self-unloading bulk carrier fleet.


This provides a comprehensive summary and conclusions for the study.


The development of the world fleet of ocean-going, continuous self-unloading bulk carriers is considered in this Section. Recent additions and losses are reviewed, and the development of "hybrid" crane-plus-belt self-unloaders is analysed.

The fleet and its development are analysed by:

  • deadweight capacity
  • age of vessel
  • region of deployment
  • type of discharge gear
  • type of cargo
  • country and yard of construction or conversion.
    The orderbook for newbuildings and conversions is examined.

The Section concludes with a separate consideration of the development of the self-unloading cement carrier fleet, which is also analysed in terms of its size categories and flag registration.


A description of the evolution of continuously self-unloading vessels is followed by a comprehensive analysis of self-unloader technology, including top-reclaiming and gravity based types, hybrids and cement carriers.

The relative suitability of different systems for different types of cargo and trading environments is considered; and the special characteristics of cement self-unloaders are examined. The environmental impact and operational experience of different systems are also evaluated, and typical discharge rates for different kinds of self-unloader are compared.


This Section provides a comprehensive collection of profiles of self-unloading bulk carrier operators, covering their fleet characteristics and deployment (by region and type of cargo), the types and speed of self-unloading equipment used in their vessels, as well as the yard of construction or conversion.

The Section also provides matrices of operators and cargoes, and regions of deployment, summarising the global network of trades and operators.


The trade-off between the higher capital costs of self-unloaders and the lower productivity and environmental drawbacks of conventionally geared bulk carriers is a major factor in the comparative shipping economics between these two kinds of vessels.

This Section reviews the development of the world fleet of geared vessels, and analyses the fleet profile in terms of its size sectors and age.

Developments in the bulk carrier freight market, including both spot-charter and time-charter rates, are analysed, and the implications for the self-unloading bulk carrier market highlighted.


This Section compares the costs of operating self-unloading bulk carriers, hybrid and conventionally geared and gearless carriers.

It includes detailed discussion of the capital and operating costs for different sizes and types of carrier. Bunker consumption and the development of bunker fuel costs are also considered.

The potential reductions in port costs associated with investing in shipboard unloading gear rather than shore-based equipment are also examined in detail.


This Section calculates and compares daily voyage costs per tonne of cargo for the different types and sizes of vessel, over different representative haul lengths.

It then presents a series of notional ease studies of the economics of particular trades typically operated by self-unloadcrs or which represent potentially fruitful opportunities for their use. These range over different commodities, haul lengths and vessel sizes, and assess the competitiveness and viability of some typical self-unloader trades based on current costs and freight rates.


The successful utilisation of self-unloaders is a result of combining the identification of a transport opportunity with an entrepreneurial and effective use of technology. Hence, particular trade and cargo considerations are of primary importance in developing market prospects. The study considers the opportunities for further development of self-unloaders by identifying trade conditions where these vessels can be seen to have the most potential. This analysis is based upon OSC’s detailed knowledge of world bulk trades, port development status and shipping economics.

The general conclusion is that considerable further opportunities can be identified. The study also considers the fleet development which would be required to maintain the self-unloader share of bulk carrier markets.


The appendices list the 2002 ocean-going self-unloading bulk carrier fleet by deadweight capacity, year of construction or conversion, and region of deployment. Each vessel entry includes details of deadweight, year of construction (and conversion where applicable), yard and country of construction (and conversion where applicable), type of unloading gear, rated discharge speed of unloading gear, cargoes and region of deployment.

The self-unloading cement carrying fleet is also detailed.

Related Keywords : Self,Unloading, Hybrid, Geared, Bulk, Carriers,Aarkstore,Ocean Shipping Consultants,Market, Research, Report, Business, Industry, Information, Automotive, Banking, Finance, Food, Beverages, Technology, Biomass, Books, Conference, Company Profiles

Published By : Ocean Shipping Consultants

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