The architecture is not defined for maximum route (as Panamax and Suezmax is), but the term is used in shipping markets. These smaller ships usually have self-loading capacity, making it easier to use in ports with limited infrastructure.
A handymax ship is typically 150–200 m (492–656 ft) in length, though certain bulk terminal restrictions, such as those in Japan, mean that many handymax ships are just under 190 meters (623 ft) in overall length. Modern handymax and supramax designs are typically 52,000-58,000 t DWT in size, have five cargo holds, and four cranes of 30 tonnes (33.1 short tons; 29.5 long tons) lifting capacity. The average speed of a vessel varies depends on size and age of vessel. For example the m/v Dessi has an average speed of 8.4 knots but a max speed of 15.7 knots. The ship the DD VIGOR (IMO: 8109034, MMSI: 375089000) is a good example of a handymax Bulk carrier. It is registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and has a deadweight of 42221 tons .
The cost of building a handymax is driven by the laws of supply and demand. In early 2007 the cost building a handymax was around $20,000,000. As the global economy boomed the cost doubled to over $40,000,000, as demand for vessels of all sizes exceeded available yard capacity. After the Global Economic Crisis in 2009 the cost fell back to $20M.