BMTI Bulker Market Update (24 Aug 2021)

With rates breaking new records, it stands to reason that congestion levels would be at records as well. Indeed, some 16% of the world’s bulk carrier fleet is currently being held up by port queues, according to estimates by Braemar. The broker says bulker queues hit a record 142m dwt at the weekend with China accounting for about a third (52.7m dwt or 6% of the bulker fleet). These levels are 28% higher than a month ago and 23% higher than a year ago. Capesize freights keep climbing, albeit at a slower pace of circa US$ 1,000 day-on-day with TARVs finally hitting US$ 50,000 daily, as expected. Front haul rates are rising by leaps and bounds with high US$ 70,000s of up to US$ 77-78,000 daily expected by midweek.

Atlantic Panamax tonnage is said to be especially hard to come by at the moment, according to several brokers working on the trans-Atlantic trades, with low US$ 30,000s (on TARV rates) moving to the middle-high US$ 30,000s in a few days. Front hauls passed US$ 50,000 on 82,000 dwt ships for the first time in ages while the same rates are only about US$ 500 away for the standard 74-78,000 dwt vessels as well. Indonesia rounds have climbed to US$ 33,000.

With port congestion in China playing an outsized role in today’s eastern Supramax market, it comes as little surprise to see Pacific RV rates rising by more than US$ 500 day-on-day to hit US$ 35,000 daily (and estimated to reach US$ 37,000 by week’s end). Indonesia rounds are similarly buoyant with similar daily gains putting S.China delivery on 58,000 dwt with ECI redelivery at US$ 35,500, giving charterers little recourse but to accept the terms and move on.

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