diana shipping panamax bulk carrier

Panamax Fleet Highest Since 2005, Rates Continue Downward Spiral

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August 6, 2012

Diana Shipping’s M/V Melite, a 2004-built 76,436 dwt panamax bulk carrier. Photo: Diana Shipping

(Bloomberg) — Daily rates for Panamax vessels, that typically haul coal and grains, plunged to the lowest in more than eight weeks as a glut of ships swamps the number of cargoes available for loading.

Returns for Panamaxes, the largest size able to navigate the Panama Canal, lost 2.2 percent, sliding to $7,096 a day, the lowest level since June 7, according to the Baltic Exchange, the London-based publisher of freight rates. That’s the 14th consecutive decline, the longest losing streak since early February, the data show.

The number of Panamax vessels in the global fleet has increased to 2,105, the highest since at least February 2005, according to data from IHS Inc., an Englewood, Colorado-based research company. Charterers are able to select ships that offer cheaper rates, as there is a large surplus of vessels available, according to Fotis Giannakoulis, a New York-based analyst at Morgan Stanley, citing data from Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest shipbroker.

Charterers “are generally in no rush to fix as they see a long list of tonnage,” Giannakoulis said in the report. “Unless we see a sudden injection of fresh business today rates look set to continue their downward spiral in the Pacific.”

Capesizes, the largest ships hauling steel-making ingredients including iron-ore, added 1.6 percent to $4,417 a day, according to the exchange. That’s the second increase after an 18-day losing streak, the data show. Earnings for Supramaxes declined 1.3 percent to $10,269, and Handysizes decreased 1.3 percent to $7,930 a day.

The Baltic Dry Index, a broader measure of raw-materials shipping costs, fell for a 20th day, sliding 1.1 percent to 843 points. That’s the longest losing streak since Feb. 3, exchange data show.

– Rob Sheridan, Copyright 2012 Bloomberg
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