Christmas cheer

Christmas cheer
Published: 21 December 2003

We are now less than two weeks before Christmas, and the dry bulk markets show no sign of a possible slowdown. This is confirmed on the voyage market where rates continues their steady rise, as well as on the period market with a lot of tonnage taken for one or two years (particularly for Panamaxes which reached new records), but also on the newbuilding front  where a good number of contracts have been placed for all sizes of ships. It is still amazing to notice that despite a huge backlog of orders, some of the major yards are committing themselves with orders with delivery dates very end 2005 or early 2006. The BCI has increased by 290 points at 6641, and is now approaching its year to date record. Mineral activity has been sustained, especially from the Pacific, and 2003 will establish new records in seaborne trade for the vast majority of commodities, even minor bulks, with the exception of grain which is stagnating.
If China has been, the country pulling the market, one mustn't forget India, whose needs are scheduled to grow rapidly in the coming years, according to some recent studies. The dry bulk markets are definitely oriented eastward.








The Panamax market has remained on the same trend as last week. In the Pacific, modern ships can obtain above US$40,000 for r/v. Fronthaul rates, have also continued on a positive trend, as seen in the fixture of the 2001-built, 'Nifefs' fixed for a tct, delivery Ghent for a trip via Brazil and redelivery in Taiwan at US$34,000. In early November, such trips were being fixed at significantly below the US$30,000 per day mark. Backhaul trips are at about the same level as Pacific r/v, close to US$40,000, which must be close to their highest level of the year. Atlantic r/v are hovering in the region of US$33,000/day. In the Middle East/Indian Ocean area, rates up to US$45,000 have been seen for short trips to China. Short periods have reached new records, in the region of US$36,000 to US$38,000 for 4-6 months. 12 months t/cs were fixed between US$31,000 and US$33,000/day, a very firm trend which doesn't seem to be softening. On the voyage market, coal rates for shipments from South Africa to the Continent were on the rise, and transatlantic ones remained firm. Grain shipments from the US Gulf to Japan were in the region of $US50.00. Let's remember that this figure is about three times above levels prevailing two years ago.
HandyMax and Handysize  markets remained firm at steady levels. Modern Super HandyMax tonnage achieved almost US$30,000 for Pacific r/v, same thing in the Atlantic. Fronthaul trips have firmed up with 48,000 dwt taking US$40,000 for trips USG/Far East. The 51,000 dwt 'Equinox' was reported fixed at $US30,000 for a Black Sea to Far East trip. On the period market, even some small oldies obtained decent rates, such as a 22 year-old, 28,000-dwt ship, reported fixed at US$13,000 for 5-7 month’s time-charter. Super handymax grabbers seeing a lot of interest for short period up to one year and owners asking now in the region of US$30,000 for 4-6 months and US$26-27,000 for one year.

Week ending: 21/12/2003
Source: Barry Rogliano Salles Shipbrokers