Market booms in the domestic and international economy have created interesting dry bulk shipping trends. This comes as no surprise with domestic oil markets booming, housing construction on the rise, and foreign markets creating new demand. Catering to domestic and international need puts dry bulk in an interesting position where slow domestic markets may pose smaller risk to dry shippers if imported materials are still in high demand.
After the market crash of 2008, dry bulk trucking suffered with almost every other industry, and it remained low until 2010. It was then that North American sales and marketing for dry bulk materials increased, as fraking demanded tons of sand in its process for extracting oils. This returned the industry back to its pre-2009 state. In addition to an improved domestic energy sector, recovering real estate markets and tax incentives have increased demand for dry materials. Virginia and Maryland have seen increased taxes for infrastructural improvements such as roads, and airport construction. These types of construction projects have also boosted dry bulk sales on the east coast, and in other areas in which the house market has improved drastically.
The housing market is seeing a bit of an uptick as well, and the numbers are being seen at the fleet level. Such materials as calcium carbonate, used in rotational modeling and other housing materials, has gone up consistently since 2010. Since 2013 alone, rotational molding, the manufacturing of plastic piping and other parts for home construction, have grown annually by 10 – 20%-. The use of industrialized minerals for various construction projects have always created a market for dry bulk carrier services, and increased iron-ore demand in China has also driven growth in dry bulk markets. Shipping services are constantly seeking to diversify their markets in such a way.
Will dry bulk trucking continue to see growth in 2015? It is too soon to know. Chinese demand for imported commodities may fill in the latest downturn beginning in 2015. Political factors may also provide a boost for dry shipping, as states like Oklahoma move towards more fraking activity. Lets face it, dry bulk services are needed in a variety of market sectors, and with each new trend, bulk shippers are ready for the challenge.