Trip to Panama. Questions about the new canal dimensions


As we can see in yesterday’s BDI Fixture list ‘Genco Raptor’ (76.5kdwat blt 07) fixed dely Gib via N France to Spore Japan at usd daily 10’500. This figure could give some guidance for this Glencore fixture which has been reported on the Commodity market, details which you can find here, and this being a noticeable effect on the trading market of the Brexit and weaker pound. If one of you, reading this report happen to know the freight or daily hire done by Glencore I would be very interested to get the info. Glencore, still is seen on the market with a 15 to 25kmts barley from France to Morocco

Talking again about this Onne to brazil, (see yesterday’s report) market reports is evaluating the TCE @ US$ 1’500 daily for 30 days employment. This seems to me quite sharp I was estimating it at 2’250/2’500 usdpdpr, while owners open there was estimating this cargo at 10usdpmt being equivalent to about USD 3’000 daily. At the end, we can run the figures in every ways, for sure the money proposed by charterers is low and I repeat, I think it’s too low to be realistic eventhough ECSA is looking like a promising destination for the taker.

Still in market report I could read that Star bulk Corp. is editing his financial results, “reporting the worst net loss in 30 years US$ 48.8Million.”… 30 years this is sending us back to the mid 80’s shipping crisis which some of you reading this report probably had the chance to go through as a trainee!

Before you go on week-end or you can still read it while watching the soccer games (especially if the game is as boring as the one yesterday Portgal Vs. Poland), I’m proposing you a quick trip to Panama.

Panama has been the center of the world lately, in the financial world with the Panama leaks, which allow me to say has been big and then Pscchiit, pretty much nothing came out (can wonder about the Brexit also but it’s another story).

Panama canal expansion, and this is bit more interesting in a chartering point of view. Surely most of you did not really pay attention to the details of the new panama locks and new dimensions. Mainly because Panamax / Capers and VLGCs are not your daily bread but now almost a week have been passed since the 1st ship went through these new installation, let’s say it’s time to put some thoughts behind this.

Panamax – What’s a panamax nowaday?

as per Baltic Dry Index a Panamax is

  • 74’000mt dwt
  • loa max 225m
  • beam up to 32.3m
  • draft being at 13.95m


and as per new Panama locks, it is now

  • loa max 366m
  • beam up to 49m
  • draft 15.20m


Looking like a Caper no? Still according to BDI, a Caper is

  • 289m Loa max
  • Beam 45m
  • draft 17.75m (so can go through Panama canal by cutting size only)

So according to BDI a capers is becoming a Panamax. And what’s a Panamax becoming then a Supra?

Before the new locks being open, 55% of the fleet at sea could not go through this Canal. Today, 79% of the dwt tonnage in the world fleet will now be able to go from Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean running in less than 78km (abt 42 miles). We also understood most of the Panama canal users are containerships (counting for 1/3 of the canal  transit and half of the tolls paid). Focusing on the drybulk sector, about 55% of the fleet could go through the old Panama Canal when now it’s close to 90%!

Talking about money, soon going through the new locks, the big mamma’s will have to pay usd 1Million to cover the toll. The first ship, so called Cosco Shipping Panama paid USD 575k (Owners may have obtained a rebate for being the 1st one!), MOL Benefactor a 10’000teu ship is about to pay USD 830K. Panama canal able to welcome 12,000 teu ships. Surely Panamian authority will welcome quite few of these ladies to recover the USD 5.25bn invested in this (5250passages of 12’000 teu to be precise)

All in all, this is raising quite lots of question marks on how the market will adapt to this new parameter.

  • How will this impact the chartering activity? (For sure in an over tonnaged capacity market it is not a good thing to have ships able to perform voyages at quicker pace than they used to. It means ships will be open again on a quicker basis, looking for cargoes more often and we can wonder (but we need to ask to experts)
  •  which total dwt capacity is this new panama canal capacity  equal too?
  • How many more rotations/ year will the additional 35% of the drybulk fleet will this represent?
  • How shall BDI (working with SGX) define his new indexes ?
  • his new routes?
  • How shall we call a panamax now?

To this last question, some funny people are suggesting Alangmax. If you are wondering what’s this mean, then please read this: alangmax, what’s that?

For sure if we stick to the index, the shipping market seems to be very happy with this new set up, since last Friday BDI went up by 50 points, BPI by 77.

Have a nice week-end and remember we at Pelagos can work shinc wheather permitting only.


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