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A medium-sized, ocean-going ship with a flat deck and multiple cargo holds. The ship is loaded with bulk cargo, such as coal, iron ore, or grain.

Handysize Bulk Carriers: The Essential Vessels of Global Dry Bulk Shipping

Handysize bulk carriers are the smallest of the three main types of bulk carriers, with a deadweight tonnage (DWT) of between 15,000 and 35,000 metric tons. They are smaller and more maneuverable than their larger counterparts, the Panamax and Capesize bulkers, which makes them ideal for transporting bulk cargoes to smaller ports and regions.

Handysize bulk carriers are used to transport a wide variety of bulk cargoes, including:

  • Coal
  • Iron ore
  • Grain
  • Fertilizers
  • Cement
  • Wood chips
  • Steel products
  • Other bulk commodities

They are an essential part of the global dry bulk shipping fleet. They play a vital role in transporting the raw materials and finished products that are essential to the global economy.

Advantages of Handysize Bulk Carriers

They offer a number of advantages over other types of bulk carriers, including:

  • Versatility: Handysize bulk carriers can transport a wide variety of bulk cargoes, making them a more versatile option for shippers.
  • Maneuverability: Handysize bulk carriers are more maneuverable than larger bulk carriers, which makes them easier to navigate in congested ports and waterways.
  • Accessibility: Handysize bulk carriers can access a wider range of ports than larger bulk carriers, which gives shippers more flexibility in their shipping options.
  • Efficiency: Handysize bulk carriers are relatively efficient to operate, which can save shippers money on transportation costs.

Applications of Handysize Bulk Carriers

Handysize bulk carriers are used in a variety of applications, including:

  • Intra-regional trade: Handysize bulk carriers are commonly used to transport bulk cargoes within a region, such as from Southeast Asia to China or from Europe to North Africa.
  • Short-sea shipping: Handysize bulk carriers are also used to transport bulk cargoes on short-sea routes, such as from the UK to Europe or from the US to Mexico.
  • Feeder services: Handysize bulk carriers are sometimes used as feeders to larger bulk carriers. For example, a handysize bulk carrier might transport coal from a small port in Indonesia to a larger port in Singapore, where the coal would then be loaded onto a Capesize bulker for transport to China.


Handysize bulk carriers are the workhorses of the global dry bulk shipping fleet. They are versatile, maneuverable, and efficient vessels that are used to transport a wide variety of bulk cargoes to ports all over the world.

For cargoes that exceed the capacity of Handysize vessels, Kamsarmax carriers offer a viable solution with their expanded carrying capacity. Explore their capabilities further here:- “Kamsarmax Vessels: The Bulk Carriers of Choice for Shippers Worldwide

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