On the 11th week, freight rates in the Azov-Black Sea region fell sharply. Thus, contracts for the shipment of 3,000 tons of wheat from the Azov Sea to the ports of the Marmara Sea are on average concluded at the level of $ 20 per ton. Most shippers note the desire of suppliers to retain cargo in anticipation of price stabilization on the domestic market, and also point to the low prices offered by buyers. It should also be emphasized that many charterers are planning to ship to long-distance destinations, such as Greece, Italy, Israel, and the Mediterranean ports of Turkey. At the same time, the number of shipments of fertilizers and coal, which were postponed in recent months due to the high activity of grain export, is gradually increasing. In addition, shippers begin to calculate more actively various projects from the river ports of the Russian Federation. In addition to cabotage transportations, charterers plan export shipments of grain cargo and fertilizers. It is also worth noting that due to favorable weather conditions, starting from March 18, ice wiring is completed in the ports of Azov, Rostov and Taganrog.
Active shipments continue on the short-sea market in the Baltic region. Despite the arrival of spring and the weakening of the ice situation in the ports, freight rates are in no hurry to fall, maintaining the level of the previous weeks. Also, there is a trend towards a slight decrease in fuel prices, but this factor has not yet influenced the decrease in rates either. Regarding cargoes, there is a decrease in grain flow, while fertilizers shipments proceed to be active. Many vessels are under contacts until late April – early May, so more tonnage is expected to appear on the market at that time. Shipowners, meanwhile, in the hope that the market will change, prefer to consider shipments in spot and promt positions rather than close vessels for later dates. The most popular destinations are still the ports of Great Britain and the Continent. And considering the recent incident in the Kiel Canal, queues are expected for the passage of ships from the Baltic to the North Sea and vice versa.
On the 11th week of the year, there is an active growth of indices for vessels from Handy to Panamax. They even break 2007 records. Many operators complain about the big risks when taking ships into operation, as well as high rates of the time charter equivalents. The increase is warmed up not only by active shipments from the Baltic and the Black Sea, but also by the growth of grain exports from the United States to Asia, as well as coal imports to China.
Demand for American white wheat shipments to countries such as the Philippines, South Korea and China continues to rise, setting a new record since 1994. China also continues to look for alternative sources to buy feed wheat.
In the Baltic and the Continent, charterers still tend to postpone shipments, but the demand for ships isn’t falling. Because of Russian taxes on grain, a large number of wheat cargoes from Poland, Denmark and France appeared on the market, which also affects the demand for tonnage.
Russian coal miners are boosting exports to China, the world’s largest energy consumer, after Beijing raised tariffs on imports from Australia amid growing trade divisions. But as China’s appetite for energy imports grows steadily, Russia is trying to fill the void by increasing its coal exports.