Star Bulk Carriers Corp. is one of the world's largest bulk goods shippers. The company is ranked 4th by the number of ships but 2nd by deadweight tonnage, which stands at over 14 million. Bulk carriers transport unpackaged goods, such as commodities and raw materials, which are classified into two categories; major bulk and minor bulk.
Star Bulk Carriers Corp. was incorporated in 2006 in the Marshall Islands but maintains operational headquarters in Marousi, Greece. The company’s primary business is the oceanic transportation of dry bulk cargoes globally, although it does offer other services including vessel management. The company’s goal is to be a high-quality, sustainable and efficient operator that can produce long-term growth for investors. Growth will come via expansion and acquisitions as they present themselves.
Star Bulk Carriers Corp is a diversified dry bulk shipper as well. The fleet comprises 128 vessels ranging from the Supramax to Newcastlemax class, the largest shipping vessel in service. The bulk of the vessels are Kamsarmax class (there are 41 as of December 2022), while the remainder is mostly Newcastlemax, Capesize, Ultramax and Supramax. The size and scope of the fleet allow it to operate in all shipping markets where and as needed.
The company transports a wide range of major and minor bulks. Major bulks include iron, grains, sand and gravel, while the minor bulks include fertilizer, steel and cement. The company’s fleet has an average age of 10 years (in 2022) which is young for a large shipping fleet. It transports more than 60 million tonnes of goods annually and is systemically important to the global supply chain. The charter schedule is set up in a way that allows maximum flexibility. Some vessels are reserved for longer-term charters that guarantee steady revenue while the rest are reserved for shorter-term and opportunistic charters.
Star Bulk Carriers Corp manages the bulk of its fleet through two subsidiaries, Star Bulk SA and Star Bulk Cyprus. This strategy allows the company to manage its fleet efficiently, including taking advantage of synergies and the benefits of scale. The company uses technology to its advantage. It invests in the latest ship technology and the tools to manage and maintain its fleet and maximize operational efficiency.
The company aims to maintain a healthy balance sheet through the ups and downs of the shipping cycle and only carries moderate amounts of debt. The company initiated a dividend policy in 2021 that allows it to pay dividends 4 times per year. The policy states “the Board may declare a dividend in each of February, May, August and November in an amount equal to (a) Star Bulk’s Total Cash Balance minus (b) the product of (i) the Minimum Cash Balance per Vessel and (ii) the Number of Vessels.” The company’s revenue approached $6 billion annually in 2022.