In its third-quarter earnings report Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB) said the final leg of 2012 is shaping up to be the strongest of the year for the segment given its exposure to the spot market but warned negative underlying fundamentals will likely continue in the near-term.

The commentary came as the NYSE Euronext-quoted company turned in a profit of $11.8m in the three months to 30 September and earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation (Ebitda) of $1.09 per share with Bocimar contributing $7.5m to the bottom line.

A year prior CMB reported a gain of EUR 46.5m ($60.9m) while its bulker division posted a contribution of EUR 26.1m at the end of a period in which its capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize bulkers secured respective day rate averages of $15,483, $10,827, $13,549 and $10,081.

Today the company, which blamed the steep decline in earnings on the lack of iron ore exports and reduced trade flows that suffered as a result of the US drought, said the same asset classes saw daily averages of $22,666, $10,533, $10,301 and $7,747, respectively, in the third.

“Capesizes suffered from the lack of growth in iron ore exports whilst panamaxes were hit by reduced trade flows in general and the impact of the US drought on corn, soybean and wheat exports in particular,” CMB explained. “The handymax and handysize markets were, once again, more resilient, albeit in a downward trend.”