Russian invasion of Ukraine shakes up dry bulk market

Two major dry bulk markets are directly affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – with mixed consequences for dry bulk shipping.

First, the Ukraine is one of the world’s largest producers of grains with an annual export volume of around 45 million tonnes. Due to the armed conflict in the country, it is expected that only a fraction of the usual volume will be produced in 2022. This will not only hit global food supply and commodity prices, but also dry bulk shipping. It is unlikely that the volume – which used to be exported mainly to countries in Asia and Africa – can be replaced by other countries’ exports so total seaborne transport will drop. This will particularly affect the size classes up to Panamax.


Russian invasion of Ukraine shakes up dry bulk market
© ISL, based on CRSL, Foto: Pixabay

Second, Russia has been exporting roughly 40 million tonnes of coal to EU countries and to the UK in 2021. The bans on coal imports will lead to a re-shuffling of seaborne coal trade patterns. While Russia will seek to export an increasing amount of coal – even from the Baltic Sea area – to destinations in Asia such as India or China, European countries will have to look for additional imports from overseas. If Russian gas exports to Europe are further reduced, then coal imports may have to be increased further for power generation. Therefore, the demand for long-distance coal transport – and hence for the Capesize segment – will supposedly increase due to the current crisis. The Baltic Dry Index has already reacted and recently increased again.
In the long run, however, European seaborne coal imports will decline again as they have already almost halved since 2010.

The ISL SSMR 2022-3 highlights various developments across the major dry bulk markets and is available via our Webshop.

The special feature topics of each issue are:

  • Issue 1: World Merchant Fleet
  • Issue 2: Tanker Market
  • Issue 3: Bulk Carrier Market
  • Issue 4: Container Shipping
  • Issue 5: General Cargo and Container Shipping
  • Issue 6: Passenger and Cruise Shipping
  • Issue 7: Shipbuilding and Shipbuilders
  • Issue 8: Major Shipping Nations
  • Issue 9: World Seaborne Trade and World Port Traffic