Panamax freight rates touched their lowest levels in years and prospects for a quick recovery in the sector are remote, shipbrokers said on Wednesday.
Overall, panamax minerals demand remains light and grain exports are not enough to support panamax freight rates, they said.
Initial hopes to see the market bounce from the existing low levels had faded after reports that new enquiry was not strong enough to balance the market against the surplus ship supply, shipbrokers said.
Brokers said market talk suggested resistance against pushing rates for October and November positions of the US Gulf to Japan panamax heavy grain benchmark route into the low $18 per ton range.
Recent fixtures for this route have placed freight rates at $18.75 per ton of heavy grains for both August and September loading contracts, they said.
Reports suggested that recent fixtures for an Atlantic round voyage was at around $5,000 daily, a sharp fall from the daily $7,600 rate noted in the Index.
Fixtures on Wednesday included the charter of the 2001 built 63,200 dwt Oceanis to transport a 58,000 ton heavy grain cargo from the Mississippi to Israel at a freight rate of $11.50 per ton.