Grain-Carrier Ship Rates Slide a 14th Day as Demand Seen Slowing

Rates for Panamax ships that carry grains and minerals fell for a 14th day amid speculation that demand to transport Latin American crop cargoes is slowing.

Day rates for the 750-foot-long ships that haul about 75,000 metric tons slid 0.1 percent to $7,923, staying at the lowest since Feb. 28, according to the Baltic Exchange in London, which publishes prices on more than 50 maritime routes. They’ve fallen every day since April 22, the longest streak of consecutive declines since February.

“We had a strong March to April in the Panamax market, led by South American grains,” Guy Campbell, head of dry bulk at Clarkson Plc (CKN), the world’s biggest shipbroker, said by phone today. Demand for those consignments “now appears to be coming to an end,” he said.

Owners of Panamaxes must contend with a fleet that is expanding faster than any other part of the dry-bulk shipping market, according to data from Clarkson’s research unit. The Baltic Dry Index, a wider measure of commodity shipping costs, fell 0.6 percent to 879 points, the lowest since May 3, according to the exchange.

Earnings for Capesize vessels, which are about twice the size of Panamaxes and haul iron ore and coal, slid amid a lack of demand, Campbell said. Trade for the ships normally increases in the second half of the year, he said. Rates slipped 2.2 percent to $5,907, according to the exchange.

Rates for Supramaxes, about 25 percent smaller than Panamaxes, declined 0.6 percent to $9,000 a day. Handysizes, the smallest vessels tracked by the gauge, added 0.3 percent to $8,150, exchange data show.

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