In the light of what happened last year and of the predictions coming from both the supply and the demand side, charterers seem to be in the market to secure tonnage for mid and long term commitments. Cape and Panamax rates have been supported by an intense time charter activity while the Handy/Supramax market is still spot-driven.
In the news, this week the weatherman had a lot to report, first with the grounding of the 33,000 dwt – 1985 built Handy ‘Server’ which broke into two parts on the rocky coast of Norway with no life lost but some fuel starting to leak. This accident comes along with colder weather both in North Europe and in the US, which could drive for at least “normal” winter condition and an increased use of the spare coal-fired power plant capacities. Finally the weakening of “El Nino” conditions which caused severe droughts in Australia and severe grain production cuts, should now allow some better autumn crops and revive their export capacity.
On the whole, the Panamax market firmed again last week, the Atlantic market gaining more support from Cape cargo splits (traded up US$1,230), numerous strong period fixtures (1 year period at US$32,250, 2 years at US$27,500 and three years at US$26,000) but the Pacific was quiet and tonnage was building. Bullish paper trading on the Panamax 4 TC for the first quarter also added to positive sentiment. However, most of the activity had dried up by the end of the week, the Pacific had turned into negative territory and after a brisk few days of fixing, fresh positions could start to build, the trades on the paper reflected this.
The Handymax market remained firm last week. Cont/Med to Far East keeps going up while the Atlantic is showing signs of weakness. Rates ex US Gulf remain on the very strong side at mid/low 40’s for modern Supramax. The Pacific and the back- haul remains in the mid/low 30’s. Spot activity ex West Africa is scarce and ECSA remains overall steady.
Source: Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris