The Drewry Multipurpose Time Charter Index increased to USD9,679 per day in August, representing a rise of almost 7 percent compared to the 1.4 percent rise seen in the previous month, as the usual summer lull came to an abrupt end.

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Drewry’s index is up 48 percent since the start of the year and 67 percent since August 2020. Drewry expects the index to rise a further 5 percent in September to reach USD10,165 per day.

Drewry noted that the index is a weighted average of two main sectors – project carriers and less heavy lift capable vessels. The slower rate of growth exhibited by the index over July was largely due to a softening in the market for the latter vessel type, Drewry said.

However, this year’s summer lull was particularly short-lived for the shortsea market and by the second half of the month Drewry was already starting to see a pickup in demand, particularly in Mediterranean and Black Sea ports. This resulted in an uplift of around 1.5 percent in rates for the smaller vessels in the fleet over August.

Meanwhile the project carrier and heavy lift capable vessels continued to enjoy a rising market. Vessel availability was scarce, as the majority of ships have been fixed well into the second half of 2021, and demand continued to climb as the capacity constraints and equipment shortages continued in the competing sectors.

Drewry does not expect the supply-demand balance to change significantly in the short term, which will lead to further growth in charter rates and a rising index during September.