What is Handysize Bulk Carrier?

What is Handysize Bulk Carrier?

Handysize bulk carriers are the smallest size of bulk carrier, typically measuring in length between 100 and 200 meters with a deadweight tonnage (DWT) ranging between 15,000 and 35,000 tons. The name “Handysize” comes from the fact that they are smaller and more versatile than their larger counterparts, hence they are “handy” in certain situations.

Their smaller size and greater maneuverability compared to larger bulk carriers make them the workhorses of the global fleet, as they are able to access many ports that larger ships cannot. They are also equipped with onboard cranes, allowing them to load and unload cargo in ports that lack the necessary infrastructure.

Handysize carriers are typically employed in routes that do not require the capacity of larger carriers, such as the Panamax and Capesize vessels. They carry a wide variety of cargoes, including minor bulks such as agricultural products, steel, and forest products, as well as the major bulks like iron ore, coal, and grains.

Their versatility and flexibility make Handysize bulk carriers an essential part of the global shipping fleet, contributing significantly to global maritime trade.


Handysize Bulk Carrier Employment 

Handysize bulk carriers are often employed on trade routes that require their unique characteristics: smaller size, flexibility, and the ability to self-load and unload with onboard cranes. These features make Handysize vessels ideal for ports with size restrictions or less infrastructure.

Here’s a deeper look at the kind of employment and cargo for Handysize bulk carriers:


Handysize bulk carriers are usually involved in “tramp trade,” which means they don’t operate on fixed routes or schedules. They go where the cargo is, which can vary from voyage to voyage. Because of their size and flexibility, these vessels are able to access smaller and less developed ports that larger vessels can’t reach, as well as larger ones. This makes them perfect for routes with varying port conditions, or where cargo volumes do not justify the use of larger vessels.


Handysize Bulk Carrier Cargo

Handysize bulk carriers transport a wide variety of cargo. They often carry “minor” bulk cargoes, which include commodities like:

  1. Agricultural products: This can include crops like soybeans, wheat, corn, barley, and others.
  2. Steel: Coiled or straight, steel is often transported by Handysize vessels.
  3. Forest products: This can include logs, lumber, and pulp, among others.
  4. Fertilizers: Various types of fertilizers are often shipped via Handysize carriers.
  5. Ores and minerals: While the largest volumes of iron ore and coal are transported by larger Capesize and Panamax vessels, Handysize carriers can also carry these cargoes, as well as other ores and minerals, particularly when they are being shipped from smaller ports.
  6. General or break-bulk cargo: This includes non-containerized goods, products packed in bags, boxes or drums, and goods that must be loaded individually, and not in intermodal containers nor in bulk as with oil or grain.

The versatility of Handysize bulk carriers to handle a wide range of cargoes and navigate in various port conditions makes them an essential part of the global maritime fleet.


Handysize Bulk Carrier Versatility

The key advantage of Handysize carriers lies in their versatility. Their size and onboard loading/unloading equipment make them suitable for a wide range of tasks. While larger vessels might offer more efficiency for single, large-volume cargoes, Handysize vessels can carry a diverse range of smaller-volume cargoes. This allows them to adapt to changing market conditions and varied cargo types.


Handysize Bulk Carrier Market Presence

Despite being the smallest category of bulk carriers, Handysize vessels represent a significant portion of the global bulk carrier fleet. They are less expensive to build and operate than larger ships, which makes them a popular choice for many shipping companies, especially those operating in more regional or specialized markets.

Handysize Bulk Carrier Economic Impact

Handysize bulk carriers play a crucial role in the global economy. They facilitate trade, particularly for countries with smaller ports that can’t accommodate larger vessels. This not only includes developed countries but also emerging economies where port infrastructure may be less developed.


Handysize Bulk Carrier Future Trends

The future of Handysize bulk carriers will likely be influenced by broader trends in the shipping industry. For example, there’s increasing pressure on the shipping industry to reduce its environmental impact. This could lead to the development of more fuel-efficient Handysize designs or the increased use of alternative fuels.

In addition, advancements in digital technology could also impact the sector. The increased use of digital platforms and blockchain technology could make the shipping process more transparent and efficient, which could benefit all types of vessels, including Handysize carriers.

Handysize bulk carriers are an integral part of the global shipping industry. They offer a unique combination of flexibility and versatility, which enables them to meet a wide range of shipping needs. As the shipping industry continues to evolve, it’s likely that Handysize vessels will continue to play a key role in facilitating global trade.


How many holds does Handysize Bulk Carrier have?

The number of cargo holds in a Handysize bulk carrier can vary based on the specific design of the vessel, but Handysize Bulk Carriers typically have five (5) holds.

The purpose of having multiple holds is to separate different types of cargo and to help balance the ship. Each hold is covered by large hatch covers that can be opened for loading and unloading cargo.

Moreover, many Handysize bulk carriers are equipped with their own onboard cranes, which allow them to load and unload cargo in ports that lack sufficient cargo handling infrastructure. This makes them highly versatile and capable of operating in a wide range of ports around the world.

It’s also worth noting that the number and arrangement of holds can have an impact on the speed and efficiency of cargo operations, as well as the stability of the vessel at sea. Consequently, the design of a bulk carrier’s cargo holds is an important aspect of the ship’s overall design.


What is the draft of Handysize Bulk Carrier?

The draft of a ship refers to the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel), which essentially represents how deep the ship sits in the water. It is generally measured in meters or feet.

The draft of a ship, including a Handysize Bulk Carrier, is dictated by the design of the ship and is variable depending on the load that the ship is carrying.

Handysize bulk carriers are the smallest size of bulk carrier, typically ranging in size from 15,000 to 35,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT). The draft of Handysize Bulk Carriers will typically range from around 6 to 10 meters when unloaded, to up to 12 to 14 meters when fully loaded.

However, it’s important to note that these numbers can vary based on the specific design of the individual ship. For a precise draft, you would need to refer to the ship’s specifications, also known as its “particulars.” The ship’s draft will also change depending on the weight and distribution of its cargo.


Handysize Bulk Carrier Specifications

Here are typical specifications for a Handysize bulk carrier:

  1. Deadweight Tonnage (DWT): This refers to the maximum weight a ship can safely carry, including the crew, passengers, cargo, fuel, water, and stores. For Handysize bulk carriers, this typically ranges between 15,000 and 35,000 DWT.
  2. Length Overall (LOA): This is the maximum length of the vessel. For Handysize bulk carriers, it’s usually around 150-200 meters.
  3. Breadth (Width): Typically, the breadth of a Handysize vessel is around 20-30 meters.
  4. Draft: The draft of these carriers will typically range from around 6 to 10 meters when unloaded, to up to 12 to 14 meters when fully loaded. The draft will change depending on the weight and distribution of its cargo.
  5. Cargo Capacity: Cargo capacity can vary, but typically these vessels can carry between 25,000 to 40,000 cubic meters of bulk cargo.
  6. Number of Holds/Hatches: Handysize bulk carriers usually have 5 cargo holds with corresponding hatches for loading and unloading cargo.
  7. Engine Power: This can vary significantly depending on the exact design of the ship, but the main engine of a Handysize bulk carrier typically might generate around 5,000 to 10,000 horsepower.
  8. Speed: On average, Handysize bulk carriers can travel at speeds around 12-15 knots.

These are general averages and can vary depending on the specific design of a Handysize bulk carrier.



What is the difference between Handysize and Handymax? Handysize Vs Handymax

Handysize and Handymax are terms used to describe the size of bulk carrier ships, primarily referring to their cargo carrying capacity. They are categories within the dry bulk carrier segment, which includes a wide range of vessel sizes.

  1. Handysize: These are the smallest type of dry bulk carrier, with a deadweight tonnage (DWT) typically between 15,000 and 35,000 tons. These ships are versatile and flexible, as their size allows them to enter smaller ports that larger bulk carriers can’t access. They are often used for general cargo, and can carry a wide range of goods such as grains, coal, steel, and timber.
  2. Handymax: These are slightly larger than Handysize ships, with a deadweight tonnage usually between 35,000 and 50,000 tons. Handymax ships are often equipped with onboard cranes, allowing them to load and unload cargo in ports that lack the necessary infrastructure. This size range also includes Supramax vessels, which are slightly larger than standard Handymax and usually have a deadweight of up to 60,000 tons.

The primary difference between Handysize and Handymax is their size and cargo carrying capacity, with Handymax being larger and able to carry more cargo. This also impacts the type of ports they can access, with Handysize being able to navigate smaller ports than Handymax.

What is the difference between Handysize and Supramax? Handysize Vs Supramax

Handysize and Supramax are both types of bulk carrier ships, and their primary differences lie in their size and carrying capacity.

  1. Handysize: Handysize is the smallest category of the dry bulk carrier ships with a capacity ranging between 15,000 to 35,000 DWT (Deadweight tonnage). DWT is a measure of how much weight a ship can carry, including its cargo, fuel, water, crew, etc. Handysize ships are versatile due to their size, allowing them to access smaller ports that larger ships cannot reach. They are often equipped with onboard cranes, enabling them to load and unload cargo in ports that lack the necessary infrastructure.
  2. Supramax: Supramax bulk carriers are larger than Handysize ships. They typically have a capacity ranging between 50,000 to 60,000 DWT. Like Handysize ships, Supramax vessels often come equipped with onboard cranes, giving them a degree of flexibility when it comes to the ports they can use. Their larger size means they can carry more cargo, but they are also less able to access smaller ports due to their increased draft.

While both types of ships are used for similar purposes, their difference lies in their size and carrying capacity, which also impacts the ports they can access and the volume of cargo they can carry.



More Detailed Bulk Carrier Ship Sizes:

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