A record 139 bulk carriers were sold for breaking in the first three months of this year, representing the largest quarterly number ever reported by Clarkson Research Services.
Panamax and handymax scrap sales set new records in the first quarter of this year.
Of the total 7.8m dwt sold for demolition, 2.4m dwt was accounted for by panamax bulkers between 60,000 dwt and 99,999 dwt, of which 35 were reported by Clarksons.
In the handymax sector, for ships between 40,000 dwt and 59,999 dwt, 28 vessels of 1.3m dwt were sold for recycling, while 64 handysize bulkers between 10,000 dwt and 39,999 dwt and totalling 1.9m dwt were committed for demolition.
As smaller vessel classes become subject to increasing competition as huge numbers of newbuilding bulkers are delivered from Asian shipyards, ever-younger ships are becoming less economical to run in tougher chartering markets and so more owners are making the decision to offload tonnage.
Indeed, the average year of build for bulk carriers sold for recycling in the first quarter of this year was 1982, higher than the range of 1979-1981 reported throughout the four quarters of last year.
For tankers over 10,000 dwt Clarksons reported 39 vessels of a total 3.9m dwt committed for demolition in the first quarter, compared to 1.6m dwt in the same period of last year and 4.7m dwt in the first three months of 2010.
The 61,200 teu of containership capacity sold for scrap was almost less than half the record 114m teu committed in the third quarter of 2009.