Dry-Bulk Shipping Rates Decline as Panamax Fleet Seen Swelling

Rates to ship dry bulk commodities including coal and iron ore extended a decline to the lowest level in three months amid a surplus of ships.

The Baltic Dry Index slid 0.5 percent to 801 points, its 19th straight drop and the lowest since March 4, according to the Baltic Exchange, a London-based publisher of freight rates. The biggest change in rates was for Panamax ships, each able to haul about 75,000 metric tons of cargo, which dropped 1 percent to $6,113 a day, figures showed today.

“Panamaxes are the vessel class that have seen the most amount of newly-built ships delivered,” Jeffrey Landsberg, managing director at New York-based Commodore Research & Consultancy, said by phone today. “That’s set to continue for the duration of this year. We don’t believe that Panamax rates will find support.”

Panamax capacity is expanding faster than any other part of the fleet after orders surged since 2007, when rates were as much as 16 times higher than now, according to data from Clarkson Plc, the largest shipbroker, and IHS Fairplay.

Freight trader GMI Resources U.K. LLP, which operates more than 40 vessels, said June 3 it’s offering to lease ships for no charter income and pay toward fuel costs as the biggest fleet glut in at least two decades spurs the longest rout in rates since 2001. The company said it’s willing to contribute $2,000 a day to take Australian or Indonesian coal on a Panamax ship to Atlantic buyers. Panamax rates fell for a 30th session, the longest streak of declines since August 2001.

Daily earnings for ore-hauling Capesizes carrying about twice as much cargo as Panamaxes fell 0.2 percent to $5,206, according to the exchange. Supramax rates rose 0.3 percent to $9,197 a day, and Handysizes, the smallest ship type tracked by the index, fell 0.9 percent to $7,734, data show.

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