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Clarkson’s cross-sector index logs record first quarter

Photo: MSC MSC Isabella.jpg
MSC Mia sistership MSC Isabella
The cross-sector ClarkSea Index clocked $36,507 a day during the first quarter of 2022, double the 10-year average and the strongest start to a year than at any equivalent period over the last three decades.

The index has continued to strengthen over the quarter, Clarkson noted, climbing to more than $40,000 a day by mid-March and close to its post-financial crisis high point of around $42,600 a day.

Container rate indicators are more than four times long-term averages, Clarkson said, and the company’s charter rate index has hit new highs of 434 points this month, up by 20% since the beginning of the year. Bulk carriers have had a bullish start too, with the strongest start to a year since 2008. Average bulker rates have climbed 28% year-on-year, averaging $22,880.

Tanker rates have jumped too, mostly because of the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Average earnings in the first-half of April shot up to about $40,000 a day, an astonishing increase on the miserable $8,000 a day average between mid-2020 and February 2022.

Clarkson identifies a number of issues that look set to sustain a positive backdrop. These include port congestion which is rising again to near-record highs, rising trade volumes (although economic downsides are building), war-related disruption, and Chinese lockdowns.

The ClarkSea Index is a weighted average of vessel earnings across the tanker, bulk carrier, container ship, and gas carrier sectors.   

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