Spot rates for supramax bulkers are sustaining an 11-year high amid a surge in grain demand. The supramax 10TC, a weighted average of 10 spot rates across 10 routes, on Monday hit $26,712 per day, marking the third consecutive trading day that the asset class has attained rates above $26,000 per day.

The last time supramaxes reached that level was on 9 June 2010 when this Baltic Exchange average, which back then factored in only six routes, came in at $26,380 per day. Supramax bulker spot rates are getting a nice boost primarily from the high global demand for grain, says Jefferies analyst Randy Giveans.

It’s a combination of strong minor bulk trade, huge buying from China for agriculture products and ongoing port congestion,” he told TradeWinds. “It is certainly a massive uplift from small vessel owners, especially those locking in very profitable 6-12 month time charters.”

China alone is expected to import 26m tonnes of corn during the 2021-2022 growing season starting in September, according to the USDA. That is up from 7.6m tonnes taken in during the prior grain year.

The then-supramax 6TC previously came above $26,000 per day on 1 October 2008 when it came in at $27,179 per day.

Despite breaking the $26,000-per-day barrier on Monday, brokers noted that supramax spot rates were off to a slow start this week. “With widespread holidays, a bit of a lethargic beginning to the week with limited fresh activity surfacing and brokers commenting that most at their desks were in collecting mode,” the Baltic Exchange said in its daily take on supramaxes.

Turkish shipowner Cebi Denizcilik has fixed its 57,318-dwt supramax bulker Cebihan (built 2009) to FastFreight for a voyage from China to India starting 27 May.