Panamax down but Handy going strong

Published 11 February 2004

The dry bulk markets, with the exception of the HandyMax and Handysize sectors have seen some changes, especially the Panamax one, which lost some ground in the East, where the availability of tonnage was enough to cover all the short-haul inquiries and in the Atlantic where demand was a bit less active. In that context, the BPI lost 286 points during the five trading days of the week. Some tonnage has started to ballast to the more lucrative Atlantic market. Despite an overall 91-point rise this week, the BCI fell by 171 points since Thursday. These mixed conditions haven’t prevented the sale and purchase and newbuilding markets from being particularly active with some deals concluded at rocketing prices, and new contracts, with rather early delivery dates being concluded, for Capes and HandyMax especially.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A higher level of short-haul voyages is the main reason for the relative weakening of the Panamax market in the East and in the Atlantic to a lesser extent. For the rest, things didn’t move much, with still a rather brisk period activity. Fronthaul rates fell from close to US$50,000 to the mid-US$40,000, sometimes less, like the 1997-built ’Pole’ fixed for a tct delivery US Gulf and redelivery in the Far East at US$46,000, plus a ballast bonus. Atlantic r/v were mostly done on modern vessels in the low-US$40,000, which represents a severe drop when compared to last week’s levels. In the East, most Pacific r/v were done in the low US$40,000 or even below. The Indian Ocean/Middle East Gulf area escaped these softer conditions, with the 70,000dwt, ’Themis P’ fixed for 3-5 months, delivery Jorf Lasfar at US$49,500/day. One-year periods were fixed in the high-US$40,000, while for two years several ships were taken in the low-US$30,000, which also represents a decrease in comparison to rates seen during the last few weeks. On the voyage market, the coal market ex-South Africa was slower, while grain shipments from the US Gulf to Japan were still being concluded close to US$70.00, a level not seen since the creation of the BPI, Transatlantic grain shipments obtained US$40.00.

Handymax and Handysize market continued on a strong note. In the Atlantic, large modern ships obtained time-charter in excess of US$50,000/day, such as the 45,000dwt ’Prairie Sky’ fixed for a tct, delivery New York, via USEC and redelivery in the Far East. Smaller sizes did not lag behind with several 25-27,000dwt ships obtaining rates hovering between US$22,000 and US$27,000 for Transatlantic r/v. Everybody is now closely watching the South America grain market where big volumes are expected, and the impact of the chicken flu mainly on Chinese soya beans purchases. As for Panamax, the Indian Ocean is still buoyant with vessels fixed in the high US$30,000 for trips to the East. After weeks of unchanged conditions, the Pacific market has shown its muscles with several large vessels taken in excess of US$30,000 for Pacific r/v or short period. Ultramax types are now taking close to US$40,000 whichever employment and there is so far little sign of change in the near future.

Week ending: 15/02/2004
Source: Barry Rogliano Salles Shipbrokers