Charter rates for Panamax ships rose for a 22nd session, the longest streak of advances since 2003, as demand to transport grains and coal lifted bookings to the highest level since January.
Average daily hire rates climbed 2 percent to $8,898, figures from the London-based Baltic Exchange showed today. The run of gains was the lengthiest for Panamaxes, the largest ships to navigate the Panama Canal, since a streak through Jan. 2, 2003, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg.
About 21 of the carriers were booked last week, the most since the week ended Jan. 18, to haul South American grain cargoes, according to Jeffrey Landsberg, managing director of Commodore Research & Consultancy in New York. Demand for power generation “remains in effect in the Northern Hemisphere,” spurring demand for coal shipments, he said.
“The ships are queuing up and waiting to load, as there’s healthy demand out there for early deliveries of grain,” Jan Bagger, a director at the securities unit of Clarkson Plc, the biggest shipbroker, said by phone today. “Demand to ship grains is pulling many ships into the Atlantic.”
Panamaxes are the second-largest vessel type tracked by the Baltic Dry Index, a broader measure of raw-materials shipping costs. Today the gauge climbed 1.7 percent to 834, the highest since Jan. 21. It’s up 7.5 percent this week, set for the largest increase in seven weeks.
Daily average returns for Capesizes, the largest commodity carriers, rose 2.2 percent to $4,476, according to the exchange. Still, they’re down 40 percent from the end of January.
Supramax ships that are about 25 percent smaller than Panamaxes advanced 1.8 percent to $8,908, exchange figures showed. Handysizes, the smallest ships in the index, added 1.2 percent to $7,126, the highest since Jan. 24.