Panamax owners are unlikely to experience any relief from the current slide in earnings until March. February load freight rates have fallen further as a result of reduced enquiry, most obviously in the Atlantic, for both grain and mineral Panamax loads. Brokers expect that this situation will continue until South American grain shipments emerge in March. The noticeable absence of Japanese charterers has undermined the already weaker Panamax grain trades in the Far East, allowing freight rates to decrease.
Brokers report that Pan Ocean booked the 1981-built Anna, delivery U.S. Gulf, for a trip East at $8,250 daily with a $150,000 ballast bonus. Market speculation that Cargill has managed to secure a US Gulf to Continent trip at $12 per ton appears to be unfounded, but brokers are hesitant to completely discount the rumor.