A stronger week overall for the sector as the North Atlantic appeared active with more enquiry since the middle of the week. With fresh tonnage getting tighter the time charter trips for both fronthaul and Transatlantic runs had the biggest improvement amongst all routes, finishing the week at $16,639 and $29,344 respectively. The Pacific kept its steady pace as the West Australia to Qingdao run stepped up to $8.375, a peak so far this year and last seen before Christmas last year. Subsequently, the time charter average for the 5TC rose over $4,000 compared with last Friday and finished proceedings at $14,466.
A captivating week for the Panamax market with various peaks and troughs seen across all markets. The Transatlantic in the North appeared a little nervous in places with a lack of demand and some voyage fixtures equating to exceptionally low returns. However, there was talk of improved bids for the fronthaul trips come Friday. EC South America saw a mini splurge midweek with end March arrivals capturing better numbers, $17,000 +$700,000 was being achieved here. Asia witnessed a firmer week with all origins coming alive and finding support. Indonesia saw a healthy pick up in activity, ably supported by good grain and mineral demand ex Australia and NoPac. $18,000 was the highlight and concluded end week on an 82,000-dwt delivery China for a grain NoPac round, whilst LME tonnage were comfortably achieving $15/16,000 levels for trips via Indonesia to China. Period activity came alive too, with $17,250 concluded on an 82,000-dwt delivery China basis nine to 12 months.
A story of two halves, with the start of the week seeing little excitement in Asia at the beginning. However, as the week closed an upturn in fresh cargo enquiry from Indonesia and Australia, combined with a steady supply of backhaul requirements, saw renewed optimism. The Atlantic generally remained firm with stronger levels seen from the South Atlantic and more availability from the Mediterranean. Period interest remained and a 63,000-dwt open Continent fixing around $18,000 for seven to nine months. A 56,000-dwt open China fixed four to about six months trading at $14,600. From the South Atlantic, Ultramax sizes were seeing around $20,000 for Transatlantic runs. From the Mediterranean a 61,000-dwt was fixed at around $20,000 for a trip to West Africa. In Asia, a 57,000-dwt fixed delivery Cebu via Indonesia redelivery China at $15,500. A 63,000-dwt (scrubber fitted) open North China fixed a NoPac round redelivery Sudan at $20,500 with scrubber benefit for charterers’ account.
The buoyant mood continued during the week with positive gains in both basins despite a lack of visible activity. East Coast South America was said to have seen fresh grain enquiry enter the market daily. An unnamed large handy was rumoured to have been fixed from South Brazil via the River Plate to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam-Ghent range in the region of $14,000/ $14,500, but no more details surfaced. A 24,000-dwt open in the Eastern Mediterranean was fixed basis delivery Canakkale via the Black Sea to the United Kingdom with an intended cargo of agriproducts at $7,000. From Asia, brokers spoke of more requirements from Australia and Indonesia with a 37,00-dwt fixing in the mid teens for a trip from Thailand via Southeast Asia to China. It did, however, surface that this failed. Brokers also spoke of more period enquiry. A 33,000-dwt open in North Vietnam was rumoured to have been placed on subjects at $13,000 for an undisclosed period.