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US Gulf Supramax dry freight rates push up on positive sentiment

London — The Atlantic Supramax market was flooded with fixture activity this week, as rising freight rates for late-February and early March laycans pushed charterers to make deals before rates increased any further.

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Positive market sentiment and shrinking available Supramax tonnage drove trans-Atlantic and fronthaul time charter rates from the US Gulf into the low teens to $20,000s/d range. "There's really positive sentiment in the Atlantic right now," a shipbroker source said. "The first thing to go up is the fronthaul, and it has shot up around $5,000/d in the past two days."

On Thursday, the S&P Global Platts New Orleans to Kashima, 50,000 mt grains route was assessed up $2 to $38.25/mt, while the Houston to Krishnapatnam, 50,000 mt petcoke route was assessed up $3 to $33/mt. Both routes have increased 20% on week.

However, some market sources thought the market showed signs of overconfidence, given the number of spot vessels still available. "I think some shipowners have got a bit ahead of themselves as most areas are still looking quite low and overtonnaged," said one shipowner source. "The 30-day Atlantic tonnage count appears to be up by 20 ships since this time last week," he added.

--Sam Eckett, samuel.eckett@spglobal.com

--Edited by Pankti Mehta, pankti.mehta1@spglobal.com