Chapter 5: The geography of commodity flows: the bulk sector
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Bulk shipping has traditionally been connected to the economic structure of different world regions with well-defined exporter countries and specific consumption areas. However, recent economic trends as well as the modification of consumption patterns have modified historical trade routes and the related shipping services. In this scenario, the introduction of bigger ships (e.g. VLOCs in the iron ore trade) and emerging issues related to new energy consumption patterns (e.g. refinery location, steel production, renewable energy) have deeply affected the traditional shipping network. Against this backdrop, the chapter discusses the recent evolution of main bulk shipping markets in terms of supply and demand, identifying current and future trends and the related spatial distribution of main bulk commodities. By specifically focusing on main bulk cargoes (i.e. oil, iron ore, and coal), the chapter highlights main trade lanes, shipping characteristics, and potential market changers.

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