Time charter rates in the multipurpose shipping sector have dropped slightly over the last month, according to the latest data from shipbroker Toepfer Transport.
According to Toepfer, the average daily time charter rate for a 12,500 dwt/F-type heavy lift vessel was USD7,476 in July 2019. In June 2019, the rate stood at USD7,529.
However, it is an increase of USD260 on the July 2018 figures, which averaged out at USD7,216.
Hopes that multipurpose freight rates would firm up towards the end of 2019 are slowly slipping away, with maritime consultancy Drewry now predicting that there will be little improvement before 2021.
In downgrading its outlook for the sector, Drewry said that weaker projected global economic growth, greater competition from dry bulk and container sectors, as well as a lack of demolition activity are holding back any recovery.
Despite the bleak outlook, there are reasons to be hopeful. Project cargo volumes are expected to improve over the second half of 2019, as a number of projects get to the cargo-carrying stage.
Operators of more modern, heavy lift ships – a sector of the market that Drewry says is less overtonnaged – should be able to secure improved rates moving forwards.
Equally, if Drewry’s expectations for trade wars are correct and actual cargo demand issues are limited, there is hope that container lines will focus on their core services allowing the multipurpose fleet to take back more market share.