Commodity Ship Costs Extend Longest Slump Since April on Ore

Commodity shipping costs slumped for a 15th session as a lack of iron ore cargoes cut charter rates for vessels that transport the ingredient used to make steel.

The Baltic Dry Index, an overall measure of transportation costs for cargoes ranging from ore to coal to grains, fell 1.4 percent to 1,278 points today, according to the Baltic Exchange in London. That’s the longest losing streak since 19 consecutive drops to April 26. The largest slump was for capesize ships that mostly haul iron ore.

China still really isn’t chartering a lot of vessels to import iron ore,” Jeffrey Landsberg, New York-based president of shipping consultant Commodore Research, said by phone today. “The demand for coal and other cargoes is firm, but we are also seeing a seasonal slowdown there.”

Stockpiles of iron ore at Chinese ports, at 94.4 million metric tons, are at the highest level since at least 2006, while imports fell 4.1 percent to 51.1 million tons in June, according to customs data. The nation accounts for 47 percent of the world’s crude steel production and iron ore is the largest source of demand for dry-bulk shipping.

Rates for capesizes that sail around Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope to deliver their cargoes fell 4.4 percent today to $9,669 a day, according to the exchange. Panamaxes that can pass through the Panama Canal fell 0.5 percent to $12,167.

Rents also declined for smaller supramaxes and handysizes, which carry coal, ore and grains. Supramaxes lost 0.2 percent to $13,199 a day and handysizes slid 0.8 percent to $10,031.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alaric Nightingale in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stuart Wallace at

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