Dry CargoGreater China

Panamax and cape queues growing across China

Congestion at Chinese dry bulk receiving terminals is increasing to very high levels with the People’s Republic showing no sign of easing its commodity buying spree.

Panamax congestion hit new highs on Monday reaching 14.8m tonnes, 90% higher than the five-year average, according to data from Braemar ACM, who noted the record grain liftings into China have combined with strong coal volumes to create this panamax queue.

Panamax congestion in China is now 90% higher than the five-year average

“The panamax market has been sort of counter cyclic compared to the other segments. While the bigger capes and the smaller sized markets have experienced declining rates, the panamaxes are still seeing higher rates than last done,” broker Fearnleys noted in its most recent weekly report.

Congestion of laden capes in China has also steadily risen in recent weeks, rising over 8% week-on-week to 10.4m tonnes. Held up cape tonnage is currently 54% higher than the five-year average, Braemar ACM data shows, with the port of Qingdao experiencing the worst delays.

Another reason congestion issues are becoming more acute in China is down to increased anti-Covid-19 measures being put in place in recent weeks for ships calling at the world’s most populous nation.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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