The Atlantic panamax sector remains soft, shipbrokers said, adding that the number of spot ships available for hire is keeping freight rates depressed especially as new business is limited. Subsequently, charterers have the upper hand, as shipowners and brokers wait for fresh orders. Despite the slow start to the week, shipbrokers are hopeful that more business will develop. Until these orders appear, however, shipowners with early tonnage are likely to find softer fixture rates inevitable, said shipbrokers.
On the fixtures front, while late last week charterers booked a Panamax at $14.25 per ton of grain for a US Gulf to Egypt
run, shipbrokers have since reported the booking of another Panamax at $13.90 per ton for the same route.
The latter cargo is bigger at 60,000 tons and is for later loading dates of mid February.
In the Far East Panamax grain markets freight rates are also easier with prices shaved for both voyage and time charter fixtures. The softer undertone for Panamaxes in general has encouraged average earnings to slip back this week. Figures, from Clarkson Research Studies, show Panamax average daily earnings at $10,479, down 2.1 percent on last week's level. - (Reuters)