On the 6th week freight rates in the Azov-Black Sea region began to gradually decrease, reaching the level of $ 33 per ton for shipments of 3,000 tons of wheat from the Azov Sea to the ports of the Marmara Sea. There are a lot of vessels in spot positions on the market, because trying to ship wheat before the export fee introduction creates too high risks for charterers. Last Friday, the government published a list of companies that received a quota for exporting wheat, corn and barley. Charterers can now plan their shipments for the coming months. It is worth noting that many shippers consider working with new crops that do not fall under the quota restrictions. From shipowners´ side there can be noted the intention to maintain a smooth decay of freight rates, which is due, among other things, to the fact that the current level of market prices allows to sell the wheat with a profit even taking into account the fee, and to a large number of shipments of corn, which the charterers can send only until March 15.
On the Baltic shortsea market, more cargoes continue to appear in the spot position in various directions. However, charterers are experiencing difficulties in finding vessels, as a large percentage of the fleet is under contracts until the end of February or leaves the Baltic for the region of Biscay Bay. In terms of rates, from the ports of the inner Baltic, such as Tallinn and St. Petersburg, the level is much higher than the previous week, as due to the cold and ice conditions, shipowners have to stay there longer. Most of them even tend to refuse cargoes in the Finnish Gulf for the next 2-3 weeks. For shipments from ports west of Riga, there is a slight drop in rates due to the large choice of tonnage in that region. As in previous months, the most popular destinations are voyages from the ports of Poland and Lithuania to the ports of ARAG and Great Britain. There is a special demand for vessels with a carrying capacity of 6-8 thousand for grain cargo from the ports of Poland in the direction of Spain and Portugal. Rates for Portugal range from 27 to 31 euros per ton due to the unfavorable weather in those regions and the lack of a large choice of cargoes returning to the continent.
As per deepsea market, the freight rates are increasing for handy/ panamax , which are going to China, because of the upcoming Chinese New Year and related holidays. Moreover, a lot of owners are losing profitable business because of China’s intensions on prolonging the ban for importing iron ore and coal from Australia. Furthermore, news that China is successfully shipping coal and ore from South Africa, Sierra Leone, West Africa countries and from Russia gives Australia small chances to renew old relationships, but also give a chance to look for new markets such as India and Persian Gulf.