Panamax freight rates are expected to improve this week, although the Baltic Panamax Index
rose just one point to 1,626 on March 12. Shipbrokers said Panamax freight rate movement for voyage charters has been tentatively positive recently, and while some timecharter rates have been marginally negative compared with previously done levels, the Panamax sector seems to be stabilizing ahead of an upward move.
The only cause for concern was the decline in the Capesize sector. While it is not impossible for rates in the dry bulk carrier sectors
to move in different directions, as the opposite trends of the Capesize and Panamax demonstrated last year, it will be difficult for the Panamax market
to ignore a failing Capesize sector.
Meanwhile, recent fixtures included the charter of the 1999-built 74,002 dwt Far Eastern Queen. The Panamax has been booked to transport a 56,000-ton heavy grain cargo at $21.60 per ton from the U.S. Gulf to Taiwan, said shipbrokers.
Charterers are also looking for Panamaxes to transport grain from the U.S. Gulf to Egypt, and it appears that the $14 per ton mark achieved in previous fixtures is the aim of charterers again this week. — (Reuters)