Smaller bulkers" rates surge back to 2008 levels
Soaring supramax and handysize rates hit fresh 18-month highs this week, with rates for smaller bulk carriers now at levels last seen in late September 2008, writes Michelle Wiese Bockmann.
The South American grain season has helped underpin firming conditions, with Transgrain paying one of the highest daily rates recently seen for handysize tonnage.
The Netherlands-based inhouse shipping company for the Nidera group took the 2004-built, 28,710 dwt Great Morning for $34,000 per day. It will be delivered at the Brazilian port of Paranagua between March 27-30, where it has been booked for a trip discharging in the Mediterranean, via east coast South America.
Island View Shipping International chartered the 1984-built, 23,904 dwt Prelude at the Argentine port of Recalada, paying $14,000 daily as well as a $325,000 ballast bonus.
The vessel will be redelivered in Morocco.
While rates for larger bulk carrier sizes such as capesize and panamaxes have been volatile over the last few months, supramax and handysize tonnage has remained relatively immune and has been mostly climbing since late 2009.
The supramax average time charter rate closed yesterday at $30,529 per day, gaining over $6,000 from the start of the month to reach an 18-month high. Charterers have paid daily rates as high as $50,000 to secure supramax tonnage in the US Gulf for trips to the Far East, brokers said.
The handysize average daily rate is now at $20,924, with market confidence underlined by a boost in charters agreed for longer-term periods over the last week.
Danish bulk operator Copenship chartered the 1996-built, 29,513 dwt Ocean Hope for 5-7 months for $19,000. Delivery will be taken between March 20-24 when the vessel is near the Gibraltar region.
In the Pacific trading region, Norway"s Western Bulk took the 2009-built, 53,800 dwt Alpine Trader for 5-7 months this week, for daily rate of $29,500.
London broker ICAP said rates for ships in the US Gulf region appeared to be peaking, but scrap cargoes in the eastern Mediterranean region from ports in Turkey remained ?robust?.