Hungry for tonnage

Hungry for tonnage
Published: 12 February 2007

Since the start of the year, and given that the market has not felt any ignificant downward pressure, both owners and charterers have been hungry for tonnage. On the charterers front we have seen actors securing tonnage for very long periods of time, generally in relation to raw material supply contracts. On the owner’s front a similar movement has been noticeable: No less than a hundred building slots for dry bulk carriers have been booked in the yards over the past six weeks amassing to nearly 8Mdwt, which is twice as much as last year at the same period.

The top categories have of course been the Capes with about 30 new ships ordered, but also the Supramaxes of which about 60 (between 53 and 58,000dwt) have been ordered with some with very forward delivery dates, in 2010 and 2011. The second-hand market has also been generous for dry bulk
tonnage, with a prompt Cape resale for the amazing price of $98m. Last year prices for similar tonnage were in the region of $61/62m.

The Panamax market is searching its way, but the average levels achieved in both basins are still pretty high. Without several welcome Cape splits, the Atlantic basin could have been suffering much more from the Kamsar long delays, re-leasing presently to the market a certain amount of vessels almost all at the same time. Due  to major floods in Indonesia and few Pacific rounds offered, Panamaxes in Southeast Asia and the Far East have built up in the last two weeks and the market has shown signs of weakness enabling operators to secure tonnage in for short period. LMEs with Pacific deliveries were traded at around US$33/34,000 for 4/6 months last week. The delayed stems out of Indonesia have now to be lifted, which could push the rates up again this week.

The Handymax market in the East continued to ease slowly, and with the lunar festival looming at the end of the week one can imagine the activity will be limited in the Pacific basin. This being said, period rates are still strong with Supra-maxes commanding in excess of US$30,000 for short period while spot rates bring mid US$20,000’s for trips to India. This shows owners confidence in the market for the coming months.

The Atlantic remains generally firm, particularly for large modern Supramaxes with trip East from West Africa or Brazil being fixed around US$30,000. Smaller older ships find it more difficult and barely bring more than the mid/high 20’s. The Med remains poor as illustrated by the Quinn J fixture at US$21,500 for trip East. Handies are in abundance in ECSA giving choice to charterers and thus putting pressure on rates.

Source: Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris