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Drought hit Panama Canal further restricts maximum ship depth

A bulk carrier transits the Cocoli Locks at the Panama Canal, on the outskirts of Panama City, Panama April 19, 2023. REUTERS/Aris Martinez/File Photo

Baltic Dry Index Finishes Bumper November

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December 1, 2023

Dec 1 (Reuters) – The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk sea freight index gained for the fourth straight week, marking its best week since late-February, as rates across vessel segments hit multi-month peaks.

* The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, was up 255 points, or 8.7%, at 3,192 on Friday. It surged about 52% for the week.

* The main index more than doubled in November to hit a one-and-a-half-year peak.

* The capesize index jumped 608 points, or 10.8%, to 6,237. It jumped about 84% in its best week since March.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, increased $5,046 to $51,727.

* “The capesize shortage in the Atlantic could last for the rest of the year, and as such freight rates could stay strong in December,” Filipe Gouveia, shipping market analyst at BIMCO, said, adding that rates will likely cool in the first quarter of 2024.

* The panamax index added 122 points, or 5.5%, at 2,341. It gained 13% this week to its highest level since July 2022.

* “The congestion in Brazil and restrictions in the Panama canal have impacted the panamax segment the most, limiting supply,” Gouveia said, as low water levels in the Amazon river left 157 panamax ships, about 5% of the fleet, waiting at Brazilian ports.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, increased $1,092 to $21,067.

* Among smaller vessels, the supramax index .BSIS was up 64 points, or 4.5%, at 1,489. It was up about 16% for the week.

(Reporting by Anjana Anil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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