Panamax Rates Leap

Tuesday, July 17, 2001
Limited availability of spot Panamax tonnage in the Pacific is driving freight rates higher and partially offsetting heavy losses seen on Atlantic routes, shipbrokers said. A scarcity of modern tonnage in the north Pacific area had even turned recent losses on individual routes within the Baltic Panamax Index into gains, they said. The Index fell by just four points on Monday to 1,268. But shipbrokers warned that the stabilizing effect might well prove to be short-lived, "especially if the dramatically negative effect being felt in the Capesize market dominoes into the Panamax sector," said one. According to Clarkson Research Studies, average daily Panamax earnings fell by nearly seven percent last week to $8,153. Earnings for the Panamax heavy grain benchmark U.S. Gulf-Japan route fell by 12.5 percent over the period, leaving Panamax owners expecting average returns of around $8,666 daily. Fixtures reported on Monday showed softer charter rates. Cargill was said to have booked the 1996-built 73,087 dwt Drin for retro El Ferrol delivery for an east coast South America round voyage at a rate of $9,250 daily. Transatlantic round voyages on the Baltic Panamax Index stood at an average of $9,347 daily on Monday. The absence of modern tonnage in the north Pacific ensured that the 61,748 dwt Irinikos, an older vessel built in 1984, was fixed for late July north Pacific delivery. The ship is chartered for a trip to the Far East at a rate of $7,500 daily plus a $140,000 ballast bonus, said shipbrokers. - (Reuters)

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