The dy bulk market failed to cheer ship owners across the board as the year draws to an end, thus bringing mixed feelings ahead of 2011. On one hand, the market’s retreat to well under 2,000-point levels can be seen as a good sign since the new year will begin on a low end, leaving enough room for growth during the following months. On the other hand, one can’t ignore the fact that a flurry of newbuildings have been “choking” the market in recent months, not letting freight rates increase despite healthy demand, apart from seasonal situations. According to a weekly report from Shiptrade Services, “capesize vessels are still still feeling the pressure felt during the previous week and the information continues to be varying as far as the beginning of the year is concerned. Charterers were not really chasing after vessels to fix and on the other hand Owners were reluctant in coming with lower numbers to secure a fixture. As a result, the Index was once more following a downward track. Pacific had started off the week with a little more action as opposed to the other areas, but the Charterers were actually idle, only reaching out for the discounters. This general stand-still has closed the week with few fixtures reported and even less agreements on the Period Market”.
As far a Panamaxes are concerned, they “woke up on a promising Monday morning, especially for the ones positioned in the Atlantic. Both Charterers and Owners were quite active in fixing before the holidays, which kept the numbers and general sentiment at similar levels as the previous week. Unfortunately, the Pacific Ocean was not here to add-up to this positive feeling, as the tonnage in the area was considerably over the available cargo that was to be shipped before the end of the Year. As a result, the BPI was seen losing about 180 points, also showing very few period fixtures, most of them on short term basis” said Shiptrade.
Meanwhile, the recent resilience exhibited by the supramax segment, wained down. “All areas were considerably slow and had very few activity to show both on the spot and period market. Charterers with business ex Atlantic, have managed to push numbers down, especially for the cargoes to the Med, now looking at a rather disappointing 9.000 $. Longer trips to the Far East have managed to drop less than the other routes, but the number of vessels ballasting to grab these cargos do not sound like a good prospect for the rates. The Pacific Market was even worse, with a large number of vessels fighting over a small number of cargoes.
Charterers were actually seen silent, as the fight between the vessels was doing the work for them, by lowering the hire levels and only the ones that were here to seriously discount were the ones to sign a fresh CP. The only area that was resilient in this drop, was the Indian Ocean that showed some activity at levels slightly under last week. Indonesia on the other hand was definitely not considered as a loading area, as rain was the main factor to delay shipments and cancel vessels. Low numbers were the reason for some Charterers to come-our looking for period tonnage, but most of the Owners were not here to meet Charterers’ desired levels” said the shipbroker’s report.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it was the smaller Handysize segment that came out stronger than the other sizes, with minor losses as a general sentiment. “Although there are a good number of vessels waiting or sailing towards the loading areas, it seems like the available cargo has managed to keep this size rolling with limited drawback.
Both the Atlantic and the Pacific Basins have been fixing vessels at pressed levels, but not to the extent of the other sizes. Owners were once again facing some resilient Charterers, but did not face the competition a Supramax would come across in the Far East for example.