The global dry bulk shipping sector is recovering after years of crisis as Chinese and Indian demand for iron ore and coal remain firm and market players expect continued recovery, dry bulk shipper Golden Ocean said on Tuesday.

Rapid expansion of the global fleet in recent years has dragged down charter rates but these should rise at a limited pace over the next two years, further supporting the market, said Golden Ocean, which is part of shipping tycoon John Fredriksen’s business empire.

“The ‘China story’ remained intact in 2013 and China accounted for 83 percent of the global demand growth of 200 million tonnes,” it said as it reported fourth-quarter earnings broadly in line with expectations.

“Given that most forecasters positive market outlook is reflected in forward freight values, the company intends to keep high exposure to the spot market until further notice,” it said. “Chinese iron ore imports are expected to increase at a steady pace for the next couple of years.”

The dry bulk and tanker markets have experienced a severe downturn in recent years due to global economic turmoil and a slew of new vessels.

Yards have now run down much of their orderbook and the net fleet increase will be just 5 percent both this year and next, marking a big decline from previous years.

But the company warned that higher rates have once again increased demand for new vessels and ordering was “brisk” in the second half of 2013, pushing up both newbuild and second-hand vessel prices.

Golden Ocean’s fourth-quarter operating profit rose 55 percent to $21.9 million versus expectations of $21 million. (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; editing by Jason Neely)