Charterers: Panamax Tonnage is Few and Far Between

Monday, August 20, 2001
Atlantic freight rates are climbing as charterers are finding it hard to attract panamax tonnage on a spot basis, brokers said on Monday.

The respite for owners could be short-lived, however, as some in the market believe the upturn in freight rates may not last.

"For September there are still plenty of ships in the Atlantic," said one broker.

In the meantime, fixtures are still slowly improving for the Atlantic panamax market, with the upturn reflected by the latest charter for the U.S. Gulf to Japan panamax benchmark route.

A panamax was reported chartered at $18.50 a ton of heavy grains with loading scheduled between September 16 and $0.30 a ton higher than recent voyage charters under similar terms.

Owners are now said to be looking for $19.50 a ton for similar business and new orders are starting to emerge, brokers said.

In the Atlantic round-voyage market, brokers reported that grain house Bunge had recently chartered the 1989-built, 69,343 dwt Antonis I Angelicoussis for prompt Annaba delivery followed by a River Plate round voyage with redelivery set as the Skaw-Passero range at a rate of $7,200 daily.

Meanwhile, in the Pacific, several of the older panamaxes booked last week have failed on subjects, brokers said, adding that the short-term outlook for this sector again appears uncertain. Prospects for the mineral panamax market, however, are starting to look up, with several long-term contracts negotiated.

Reported fixtures included one detailing seven 50,000-ton shipments of coal due to be sent from Newcastle to Bin Qasim over the next 12 months, plus another comprising five similar cargoes to be loaded in Gladstone and then discharged in Bin Qasim over the same period.

Long-term iron ore transport contracts have also been agreed, with fifteen 50,000-tonne cargoes due to head from Dampier to Bin Qasim over the coming year, and ten panamax iron ore cargoes set to sail from Goa to Bin Qasim over a similar timescale.

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