Coal Ship Charters Seen Gaining by Commodore as China Restocks

Demand strengthened for Panamax ships hauling coal to Chinese power stations after stockpiles of the fuel declined, boosting charter rates for the vessels, according to Commodore Research & Consulting.

Traders booked six Panamaxes today to deliver thermal coal to China, more than they arranged throughout last week, Jeffrey Landsberg, the New York-based president of Commodore, which advises ship owners, said in an e-mailed report today. Panamaxes normally carry about 60,000 metric tons of cargo.

Demand gained after stockpiles fell to 5.5 million tons at the port of Qinhuangdao, below a government target of 7 million tons, he said. The port of Qinhuangdao handles about 40 percent of all China’s coastal thermal coal trade, he estimated. Earnings for Panamaxes rose 7.6 percent to $6,716 a day, the highest since Aug. 7, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange today.

An increase in bookings of Capesize ships to haul iron ore last month is poised to lengthen port delays for the vessels, which are about twice the size of Panamaxes, Landsberg said. The carriers are now arriving at iron ore loading ports, which is causing congestion to increase.

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