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Panamax Ships Have Biggest Weekly Gain in Six on Grains and Coal

Returns for Panamax ships rose for an eighth session, rounding out the biggest weekly gain in six, amid rising demand to carry coal and grain cargoes.

Daily average earnings for the largest ships to navigate the Panama Canal gained 1.3 percent to $9,557, figures from the Baltic Exchange in London showed today. The 7.5 percent weekly increase was the largest since the week of March 8, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Charters of Panamaxes to load South American grains lifted rates, according to London-based shipbroker Galbraith’s Ltd. Exports of farm products from the continent’s east coast will boost demand for the ships and smaller Handysize vessels as the U.S. grain season ends, it said.

“We’re also seeing a large volume of Supramax and Handysize coal fixtures from Indonesia to India ahead of the monsoon season,” Dominic Meredith Hardy, an analyst at Galbraith’s, said by e-mail. “East coast South American grain and Indonesian coal are what’s providing the support.”

Panamaxes are the second-biggest vessels tracked by the Baltic Dry Index, a broader gauge of costs to transport raw materials by sea, which rose for a seventh session in eight to 888, according to the exchange. Daily average earnings for Capesize ships, the biggest commodity carriers, slipped 1.3 percent to $4,329.

Supramaxes, about 25 percent smaller than Panamaxes, advanced 0.5 percent to $9,432 a day, exchange data showed. Handysize vessels, the smallest in the index, added 0.2 percent to $7,999.

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