The momentum in the Capesize shipping markets is likely to continue across the next month, shipping brokers said. However, continued rate strength in the New Year will
depend on sentiment concerning Bocimar's intentions for the vessels it has on short term charters coming up for renegotiation from February.
Current optimism in rates being maintained is based on recent timecharter fixtures
of $20,500 a day for a modern bulk carrier East and $17,600 on a return trip to Europe, a broker said. "There are a lot of cargoes coming onto the market-it could be a strong Christmas," he added.
Chinese and Japanese ore demand was continuing strong, another broker said. "It looks as though it will carry on. We are now seeing January cargoes and nobody is weakening their rates," he said.
Owners could factor in an extra 20 cents on the rates for the narrow loading period involved in Richards Bay coal cargoes for the December 25-January 5 period, a broker said.
Transatlantic rates were also likely to continue in the $15,000-16,000 range, compared with $6,000-7,000 before August when Bocimar lifted the whole market by chartering about 35 ships.
Brokers said Bocimar has taken two more ships in the last week.
But the big question was what the company would do when it came to renegotiate the 10 ships on short charters that will expire next spring.
"The smart move would be to redeliver the early ships and wait for a lull in the market to pick vessels up again at cheaper rates," one broker said.
In August Bocimar chartered a number of vessels at rates of about $12,000 when the market was at $10,000.
"What is the point in them jeopardizing the profits they have already made when they will have to refix with the market at around $16,000."
But another broker said that the latest charters could signal an intention to carry on, even though rates of up to $14,750 for seven to nine months were considered by some to be strong. - (Reuters)