Drewry’s multipurpose time charter index indicates that rates have increased to USD6,800 per day in February – a rise of 4.2 percent compared to the previous month.

According to the index, which tracks charter rates across breakbulk and project cargo ships, rates are up 5.6 percent compared to February last year. Further still, the maritime consultancy expects the index to rise a further 4.4 percent in March to reach USD7,100 per day.

“Rates continued to strengthen in all sectors over February,” said Drewry. “The traditional lull due to the Chinese New Year failed to materialise, as capacity issues and port congestion continued to plague the container carrier sector. This meant that breakbulk demand for both shortsea and project carrier tonnage was firm and the pressure moved away from the operators and onto the shippers, to ensure restocking positions were delivered.”

Drewry added that it expects these trends to continue: “The likelihood is that the disrupters in the competing sectors will remain for the short-term at least, generating the continued favourable conditions for the multipurpose and heavy lift sector.”