Panamax Rates Under Pressure

Monday, July 23, 2001
Freight rates in the Atlantic Panamax market remained under pressure and were expected to move even lower in the near term, brokers said on Monday. While Atlantic rates continued to slide, Pacific business was holding up for the time being but was expected to tail off in due course, brokers said. Fresh cargoes had emerged in the Pacific for Panamaxes, but Japanese and Chinese owners had also started to place their tonnage on the open market. Since the owners in question usually confined their ships to private business, the emergence of their vessels for open charter did not bode well for the Pacific Panamax market. The Baltic Panamax Index (BPI) lost just nine points on Monday to 1,198, but brokers believed Panamax rates had further to fall. The average of the four Panamax timecharters based on the BPI, which currently stood at $8,366 daily, was forecast by some to break the $8,000 mark shortly and possibly go as low as $7,500 daily. The latest Panamax timecharters included a Louis Dreyfus fixture for the 2001-built, 73,200 dwt Cape Race. The Panamax was due for August 1-15 delivery at Port Cartier on the St Lawrence Seaway followed by a trip to the Far East at a rate of $9,800 daily plus a $140,000ballast bonus. Shipbrokers added that a U.S. Gulf to Indonesia 60,000-tonne grain charter had been booked at a rate of $16.50 per tonne. - (Reuters)
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