2020 Bulkers booked another profitable quarter for the first three months of the year and its monthly dividends are rising in line with freight markets.

The Oslo-listed newcastlemax owner reported net profit of $800,000 for the first quarter, equivalent to $0.04 in earnings per share.

This is lower than the first three months of 2022, when the company recorded a net result of $5.9m and basic earnings per share of $0.27.

2020 Bulkers recognised a $1.7m unrealised loss on interest rate swaps, which gave a total comprehensive deficit of $900,000 for the first quarter, including translation adjustments.

The shipowner’s fleet of eight newcastlemaxes, five of which are fixed on index-linked charters, earned a gross average time-charter equivalent rate of around $17,500 per day during the first quarter.

This compares with average daily earnings of $24,000 in the first three months of last year.

But the capesize and newcastlemax market spot market has firmed since the end of March. 2020 Bulkers said its fleet earned an average TCE rate of $24,00 per day during April.

2020 Bulkers’ monthly distributions have risen in line with these rising rates, from $0.02 per share for the month of March to $0.07 for April.

During February, the shipowner converted index-linked deals to fixed-rate contracts with Koch Shipping — a shareholder in the company — for the 208,000-dwt Bulk Shanghai and Bulk Seoul (both built 2019). These will last until the end of September at $22,850 per day, plus scrubber benefits.

The 208,000-dwt Bulk Sydney (built 2020) was also converted to a fixed-rate contract with Koch that month. It will earn $19,000 per day between 19 February until 29 May, plus scrubber benefits.