Thursday, May 21, 2020

"Bulk Shipping ‘At The Very Bottom’ as Carrier Earnings Plunge"

Following up on Tuesday's "Shipping: "Carriers are winning the freight rate battle" (but what about dry bulk?)"
From gCaptain:
Vessels carrying dry bulk commodities are struggling to make a profit because of the double hit of lower seasonal demand for cargoes and the Covid-19 pandemic that’s wrecking trade and industrial activity worldwide.

“We’re really at the very bottom for dry bulk,” William Fairclough, managing director of Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings Ltd., one of Hong Kong’s largest independent ship owners, said in an interview.

Shipments out of Brazil, one of the dry bulk market’s main shippers, continue to be low, and global supply chains are being upended by the virus, he said. “The entire dry bulk carrier sector’s earnings are basically nothing.”

The Baltic Exchange Capesize Index, a measure of freight rates for bulk cargoes from coal-to-iron ore, has tumbled this year, with a short rebound in April petering out. The Baltic Dry Index, a broader gauge of vessel demand, plunged last week to the lowest since 2016.

The virus is an additional blow to a market already in pain. The early months of the year are seasonally weak, and there were fewer iron ore cargoes from Brazil and Australia due to weather disruptions. Last year, a dam disaster at iron ore producer Vale SA lowered exports....