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Shipping celebrates best Q1 since 2008

Shipping has enjoyed its best Q1 since before the global financial crisis, with the second quarter on track to post equally high gains.

The ClarkSea Index, a weighted average of tanker, bulk carrier, containership and gas carrier earnings managed by Clarkson Research Services, averaged $17,461 a day in the first quarter, the best Q1 average since 2008, prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

In the first quarter, the index, seen as a key shipping barometer, benefitted in particular from earnings in the containership and mid-size bulker sectors.

Trade recovery and upside from port congestion and logistical disruption drove Clarksons’ boxship charter rate index to the highest mark since 2005, whilst in the bulker sector returning trade, firm grain volumes, strong Chinese imports, a pick-up in coal demand and port congestion led to the strongest quarterly average bulker earnings for more than a decade.

The momentum continues, with the ClarkSea Index starting Q2 at $20,759 a day, up 36% on the start of the year.

“Allied to macro economic impetus from stimulus programmes and vaccine progress and potential upside to the outlook in some sectors (even the currently beleaguered tankers) this might support further index gains,” Clarksons noted in its most recent weekly report.

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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