On the 47th week the Azov-Black Sea region experienced a sharp drop in freight rates. Thus, the price for shipment of 3,000 tons of wheat from Azov to the Marmara Sea ports has dropped by $3, compared to last week, to USD 24 PMT.

This significant decline is due to the small number of new contracts, as well as the large volume of open tonnage on the market. Also, many charterers note that they cannot conclude contracts for the sale of sunflower seeds due to possible phytosanitary certification problems.

It is also worth noting that unfavourable weather conditions in the ports of the Azov sea influence the market situation.Because of the strong east wind, the water level in the ports has dropped significantly, preventing vessels from taking up the necessary quantities of cargo or, in some cases, from leaving the port. In addition, the loading is greatly slowed by the ever-recurring rain and snow.

Low temperatures also affect shipments from Russian river ports. For example, because of the active ice formation in the Zimlyansk reservoir, vessels without ice class will no longer be allowed into the Volga-Don basin.

In the Baltic region, on the short sea market, the situation remains unchanged. Most of the fleet is under contract, so charterers have trouble with finding suitable vessels for their shipments on spot and prompt dates.

On the deep sea market of Baltic region, there has been seen a slight reduction in freight rates. Most shipowners prefer to relocate their fleet to the Mediterranean and Atlantic regions because of more and better offers.

A number of tenders are under way in the Black Sea region to supply grain and coal to Indian ports. There has also been an increase in demand for 10-15k tonnage for North Africa. For example, this week, the freight rate for shipment 10,000 tons of corn from Constanta to Lebanon is about USD 18 PMT.

It can also be noted that the Baltic dry index continues to fall this week, which may have a negative impact on the market and freight rates for the foreseeable future.