Sentiment on the Atlantic panamax market
turned weaker albeit with unchanged freight rates, while most Pacific rates now appeared to be flattening out, shipbrokers said on Thursday.
Average Pacific prices as reported on the Baltic Panamax Index climbed only marginally, while Atlantic routes were shaved back one point to 1,435.
Shipbrokers said the main panamax activity remained in the Far East with rates for backhaul charter still rising.
With the daily rate for fronthaul trips placed around $11,400 and, by contrast, backhaul charters attracting around $9,000, returns on Pacific routes were likely to stay below those obtained for the Atlantic in the short term.
While the Pacific panamax market
had tried hard in recent weeks to approach Atlantic rates, the continued emergence of new tonnage had conspired against a fuller recovery, they said.
Newbuildings entering the market had been attracted to longer timecharters guaranteeing better returns, such as the newly-built 75,000 dwt Leto - chartered at $10,250 daily over a 11-13 month period for Mokpo delivery in late July.
Chinese charterers Cosco have also taken the slightly older 1995-built 70,677-dwt Royal Ocean for a 12-16 month period at a rate of $9,600 daily.
Other short-period charters reported
on Thursday included the 75,100-dwt Nordweser, built this year, which was chartered for 3-5 months trading at $9,900 daily, said shipbrokers.