No clear direction over last week

No clear direction over last week
18 December 2006

In the same tango ballet that we have been looking at for a couple of months, freight rates have again danced on the same narrow stage, making steps back and forth from one week to the other.
However the real freestyle dancing is definitely not on the freight rate front, but rather on the second-hand and new-building markets. After a big wave of tanker orders during the first three quar-ters of the year, it seems that its now time for bulk carrier operators to think forward.

All the models that try to foresee what the situation will be in a couple of years talk about a lack of tonnage supply. Without any mandatory phasing out of older vessels, the impact of more severeage restrictions by charterers, port state control (see Australia these days), and classification societies rules, together will push towards an acceleration of demolition in the sector. In consequence, orders with very forward delivery dates have recently poured into the market.

On the sale & purchase front the situation looks good both for the sellers, who are selling their assets with very comfortable profits, and also for the buyers who are acquiring ships offering both high short term and long term returns prospects. This situation may last as long as the charter market stays on stage.

The Panamax market continued to drop last week, with both Pacific round voyage and backhaul losing most ground (the P4 lost US$1,925 to stand at US$35,608 on Friday). However after a brisk period of fixing, a lot of early tonnage cleared out in the Atlantic and coupled with refreshed interest in period fixtures, especially in the East, the market bottomed out towards the end of the week. A number of period fixtures were reported, a 75,000t 2005 built ship rumoured to be fixed at US
$24,500 for 3 years, modern units with delivery in the East at close to US$30,000 for 1 year employment, short periods of 3-5 months at around US$35,500. We would expect to see further rises this week.
Last week, on the Handymax market, we saw very firm rates out of US Gulf, which
are starting to steer the South American market up. Some Handymaxes open US Gulf have fixed in excess of US$40,000 for tct to Med/Cont. For Supramaxes, same trips are fixed in the very high 40’s.  Trips to Far East are somewhat discounted to very high 20’s for Handymaxes and over US$30,000 for Supramaxes. Med has shown little activity, so did West Africa. The Far East showed the same consistency in rates (low 30’s for Supramax) and activity. Not too much to be reported that side except a modern Supramax 53,000 dwt dely Far East at US$27,750 for 1 year.
Source: Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris

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