Soaring shipping rates are expected to remain strong through to the third quarter of this year, according to a World Grain report on 19 July.

Overall demand for bulk shipping in the first four months of 2021 reached a record 1.69bn tonnes, up 6.1% compared with the previous year, according to shipping association Bimco, the report said.

Capesize earnings in May were running at a daily average of US$36,536, more than nine times higher than at the same point last year. Panamax earnings stood at US$24,903/day and Supramaxes US$27,430/day on 26 May, Bimco said.

“Just as freight rates are up for all ship sizes, the appetite for cargo transport has increased across the board,” Bimco chief shipping analyst Peter Sand told World Grain. “Supramaxes are the biggest winners, with demand for these soaring by 10.6% in the first four months of this year, compared with 2020.”

Over the same period, Capesize demand rose by 6% and Panamax demand increased by 1.5%, the report said.

Lead analyst at shipping consultants Drewry Rahul Sharan told World Grain he expected rates would remain strong through the third quarter.

“Soyabean is a winter crop, and it is already winter in Brazil,” he said. “The soyabean season will remain active over the next two to three months. However, we are anticipating that the rates should soften in the fourth quarter of this year.”

There was ample reason to believe that global grains traffic would remain strong into the third quarter, he added.

“Brazilian soyabean exports tend to peak in May, though exports remain high in June, before declining throughout the second half of the year,” he said. “So, this will continue to provide some support in the coming weeks but will then start declining, leaving a slight lull in the summer months before the US season then kicks in,” Sharan said.