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Panamax-Class Ships Seen With Fastest Growth in Dry-Bulk Fleet

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Deliveries of new Panamax ships, the largest that can transit the Panama Canal, are on track to increase by about a third this year, the fastest growth among the four main dry-bulk vessel types, Barry Rogliano Salles said.

Panamax vessels with total capacity of 19.5 million deadweight tons were delivered from shipyards this year up to Dec. 17, compared with 15.4 million tons for all of 2011, according to a report from the Paris-based shipbroker published late yesterday.

“Deliveries by deadweight will increase by more than one-third in 2012,” BRS said in the report. Deliveries of new Capesizes, the largest vessels that carry iron ore and coal, aren’t expected to exceed last year’s tally, showing fleet expansion peaked, according to the report.

New Capesizes starting to trade amounted to 47.3 million tons so far in 2012, compared with 57.4 million tons in 2011 and 47.4 million tons the previous year, according to the report.

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of commodity-shipping costs, has averaged to date the lowest in more than a quarter of a century as an oversupply of new vessels swells the fleet amid slowing global demand for seaborne commodities, weighing on freight rates.

The index slid today for a 14th day, declining 3 percent to 743, according to the Baltic Exchange, a London-based assessor of freight costs. It’s averaged 924 for the year, the lowest since it was 715 in 1986, exchange data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“The severe softness seen in rates suggests a supply problem and for three out of the four segments we can see that deliveries will increase again in 2012,” according to the report.

Supramax Vessels

Deliveries of new Supramax vessels, about 25 percent smaller than Panamaxes, were 19.1 million tons, surpassing 2011’s tally of 18.9 million, the BRS data show. Deliveries of Handysize ships at 9.2 million tons so far this year surpassed the 8.6 million tons in 2011, according to BRS.

Daily average hire costs for Panamax vessels fell 2.7 percent to $6,292 today, the lowest since Nov. 14, data show. Capesize ships, the biggest tracked by the gauge, dropped 10 percent to $5,617 a day, declining for a 14th day to the lowest price since Sept. 18. Supramax vessels dropped 0.6 percent to $7,717. Handysizes gained 0.1 percent to $6,555 daily.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Wiese Bockmann in London at mwiesebockma@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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