By Rob Sheridan
Charter rates for Capesize ships, the biggest iron-ore carriers, fell for a second day as a storm forced ports to close in Australia, disrupting supplies from the leading global exporter of the commodity.
Daily hire costs declined 2.7 percent to $8,431, figures from the London-based Baltic Exchange showed today. They’re still up 72 percent this year. Capesizes are the largest vessels tracked by the Baltic Dry Index, a broader measure of costs to transport minerals and grains by sea, which lost 1 percent to 817.
Harbor masters shut the ports of Cape Lambert and Dampier, forcing Rio Tinto Group to suspend loading ore cargoes onto ships, as tropical cyclone Peta neared land. Port Hedland evacuated anchorages yesterday. Interruptions linked to weather are likely in coming months, Oslo-based investment bank RS Platou AS said in an e-mailed report.
“Brokers pointed to low West Australia activity as a cyclone resulted in closure of Port Hedland, Cape Lambert and Dampier,” Platou said. The ore is a raw material for making steel.
Only one Capesize was reported booked from Australia today, according to an e-mailed report from New York-based investment bank Dahlman Rose & Co. “The storm season there has limited port throughput in recent days,” it said.
Among the three classes of smaller ships tracked by the exchange, Panamaxes, the biggest vessels to navigate the Panama Canal, slid 0.4 percent to $5,757. Supramaxes that are about 25 percent smaller fell 1.1 percent to $7,459. Handysizes, the smallest ships in the index, gained 0.4 percent to $7,143, staying at the highest level since Aug. 17.