On the 10th week freight rates in the Azov-Black Sea region dropped to the level of $ 25 for a 3,000 tons of wheat from the Azov Sea to the ports of the Marmara Sea. There is every time less cargoes on the market, but it does not mark a sharp drop due to the continuing demand for spot vessels and the large congestion of vessels in the Kerch Strait, the passage of which takes some shipowners up to a week. It is worth noting that from next week, the market will see a trend towards a sharper decline in freight, since at the moment many charterers can not successfully conclude contracts for the second half of March. At the same time, more and more customers are beginning to consider shipments from the Russian river and plan to enter into long-term contracts with shipowners starting from the first days of navigation.
The short sea market in the Baltic region has seen a slight drop in freight rates in the most directions. It happens due to warming and weakening of the ice situation in the eastern ports of the Baltic Sea. However, an even greater rate decrease in the second half of March, expected by many charterers, is unlikely to come due to the continuing rise in fuel prices. Regarding cargoes, there are active shipments of fertilizers from the inland waters of the Baltic to the ports of the UK and the Continent. But at the same time, plenty of shipowners currently prefer cargoes such as coal and steel due to the unfavorable situation for loading and discharging weather sensitive cargoes such as grain, fertilizers, etc. Also, many vessels are exempt from long-term contracts and provide a large selection of tonnage for charterers.
As for deep see market in the Baltic region, there is a tendency to postpone handysize shipments of various goods. Because of the freight rates for such vessels continue to grow, making many sale contracts unprofitable. Many shipowners prefer cargo going to the North and South America. This preference is due to the increase of soybean exports from Brazil, which ensures the availability of return shipments to the continent and to China.
According to preliminary estimates, shipments of French soft wheat outside the European Union increased in February as shipments to Algeria and Morocco rose again, offsetting the lull in exports to China. Analysts suggest that this trend will continue in March this year. The demand for Russian and Ukrainian grain in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco continues to grow similarly. This provides an interest in handysize vessels on the Black Sea market. Most shipments are scheduled for April, in the hope of more favorable freight rates and weather conditions. At the moment, shipowners prefer not to enter the ports of Novorossiysk and Taman because of long lines and strong winds, which do not allow them to quickly handle not only ships with grain and other weather cargo, but even with coal.