Increased demand in the Atlantic is likely to keep Panamax trading into positive territory this week, shipbrokers said on Monday. They said Atlantic Capesize freight rates had risen in recent days, especially for Capesizes available for early loading positions and time-charters.
Reports in the sector had suggested Belgium charterer Bocimar had time-chartered a number of Capesizes lately and freight rates had risen sharply on the back of anticipated demand in the area, shipbrokers said.
A prime example was a Capesize transatlantic voyage trading at around $15,829 a day, or $1,000 over the rate charged last week for a similar trip.
Continued interest in the South American market had also prompted a rise in rates for grain shipments out of the U.S Gulf, following a shortage of vessels in the area. "All ships have gone to South America to do business there and there are not many available in the U.S. Gulf. Rates in the region have risen," a shipbroker said. The outlook for the Pacific looked grim, with many open positions and less demand, shipbrokers said.
SS&Y Indices Rise
Shipbrokers Simpson, Spence and Young's Pacific Capesize Index rose 83 points in the week ending Monday to 4,361. "There was a pronounced uptick in the Pacific market but not to the degree seen in the Atlantic. Early tonnage still struggled to achieve last done but those who will be in position for late May loading were getting far better rates," SS&Y said. "Owners hoping to stay in the East saw encouragement from increased Chinese trans-Pacific interest," SS&Y added.
SS&Y's Atlantic Capesize Index
rose 148 points in the week ending Monday to 4,271. "There was a return to business last week as a constant supply of fresh and firm inquiry helped to fix away prompt ships and forward rates suddenly moved higher," SS&Y said. "We would suggest that sentiment has been shifted into a higher gear after figures released last week show estimates for increased steel production against a suspected fall," SS&Y added. - (Reuters)