NYSE-listed Star Bulk has fixed its kamsarmax bulk carrier Mercurial Virgo (81,545 dwt, built 2013) on a five- to seven-month period charter to Louis Dreyfus Commodities at a rate of $6,000 daily – some $2,228 per day more than what it might earn in the spot market today.
The vessel will deliver at the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas on the west coast of Mexico between April 1 and 5, according to Baltic Exchange reports. It completed a six-month fixture to Cobelfret in January, for which it was earning $8,250 daily.
Six-month-long period fixtures for panamaxes trading in the Pacific basin have been hovering around the $4,500 to $5,500 per day rate since mid-December, but the Mercurial Virgo is the second vessel reported in the past two weeks to have broken the $6,000 barrier, signalling a firming market in the region. Rates in the basin have long been trading at a significant discount to those in the Atlantic, but the gap is closing.
Safe Bulkers’ panamax Cymona Pride (was Kypros Unity; 78,000 dwt, built 2014) was reported fixed on March 10 to an unnamed charterer at $6,100 daily. The vessel was due to deliver in Nagoya, Japan, on March 20-25.
Chartering activity in the spot market helped the Baltic Panamax Index climb to 471 point today, up five points from its last assessment on March 24. The index’s weighted timecharter average rate for four major benchmark routes was today assessed at $3,772 per day, an increase of $41 over the same period.
Today’s Baltic Dry Index is 409 points, up three points from March 24.