DRYBULK: Panamax Rates in the Pacific Hit Multi-Year Highs as Atlantic Demand Surges

Panamax rates in the Pacific soared to multi-year highs on the back of icy sea conditions in the Atlantic, a spike in grain loading out of east coast South America, or ECSA, and a pick-up in European coal demand.

The firm freight rate on ships loading out of ECSA is forcing charterers to shell out more for voyages within the Pacific region. The key Hay Point, Australia, to Paradip, east coast of India, trip to move a 75,000 mt (plus/minus 10%) coal cargo was assessed at $25.40/mt on Feb. 18 — the highest since September 2010, when this route was assessed based on a cargo size of 65,000 mt.

The S&P Global Platts weighted average Kamsarmax Index, KMAX 9, which reflects global Panamax trade, closed at $24,383/day on Feb. 18 — the highest level since it was launched in May 2020.

The extreme cold weather which has resulted in icy sea conditions in the Baltic Sea as well as regions around east coast Canada have all impacted vessel movements, causing delays and supply dislocation, according to market sources.

Panamax rates in the Pacific have also rallied as east coast South America freight levels made huge advances, thanks to the busy soybean loading season.

Panamax class bulkers passing Singapore are quoting around $25,000/day for a trip to ship soybean from ECSA to the Far East.

The late harvest of soybean in ECSA for 2021 due to droughts in the region and a long Lunar New Year holiday period in China have done little to slow the Panamax freight rally…

View entirety: S&P Global Platts