"Only companies with very strong balance sheets will get through this storm," says Euroseas' Symeon Pariaros.
The Baltic Dry Index Wednesday fell under 400 points for the first time ever, and some analysts are now suggesting a demand recovery may be as far out as 2018.
The dry bulk sector's key barometer, first published in 1985, fell 8 points to end the day at 394 and make it seven consecutive trading days of record lows.
If there was any good news from today, it was that the decline was significantly less than the 13 to 22 point drops seen over the last four sessions.
On Wednesday, average spot TC rates for capesizes had fallen to $3,101 per day, although some reports indicated bookings for as low as $2,000 per day.
Average spot TC rates for Panamax fell to $3,188 per day, and $4,308 per day for Supramax.
shipowners are unable to meet even their operating expenses at the prevailing freight rates, forget about servicing debt
"Dry bulk shipping is in the throws of a generational recession," Stifel's Ben Nolan was quoted as saying.
"The recovery in demand no longer appears to be a 2016 event and even 2017 is in question."
Consultants MSI, meanwhile, declared dry bulk to be in a "critical state."
"More gloom is forecast for the bulker market over the short-term. Concerns over the state of China's economy are key," they said.
Drewry notes that the continuing woes are particularly bad for those gambling on a recovery this year.
"Dry bulk companies had taken huge debt to finance vessel acquisitions with some hope for revival in the sector," the consultants said.
"However, this has backfired as shipowners are unable to meet even their operating expenses at the prevailing freight rates, forget about servicing debt."
Many players are expecting a number of bankruptcies this year, with Symeon Pariaros, chief administrative officer at Greece-based Euroseas last month saying "only companies with very strong balance sheets will get through this storm."