On the 49th week in the Azov sea region the freight rates began to fall and reached the level of USD 23 PMT for shipment of wheat cargo from Azov to Marmara sea ports.
The lower rates are due to the low market activity and the difficult economic situation in the countries that are the main purchasers of Russian grain.

In addition, there is a difficult meteorological situation in the ports of Azov and Rostov, resulting in delays in loading and long awaiting for vessels to leave the port. The current water level in Azov port is 3.11 m.

In the Baltic region, there is a shortage of spot tonnage on the small short sea market, as most of the fleet is under contract until the end of 2020. Many shipowners already show positions in the first days of January. This situation makes it very difficult to find spot positions for charterers.
It may also be noted that grain shipments from the Baltic/Continent to Spain, Morocco and Portugal are active, both on short and deep sea market. And despite the worsening weather, most shipowners prefer to carry grain rather than other «dirty» cargoes, such as coal, since they are paid better.

As for the Black Sea shipments on the deep sea market, the freight rates continue to rise. There are numerous shipments of grain to Turkey ports by vessels such as Handy and Panamax, which increases the time-charter equivalent to 13-14k per day. There are active shipments of coal, steel and barley from the Black Sea ports to India and China. However, as in the Baltic Sea, in the Black Sea shipowners mostly prefer grain cargo.

In addition, despite the growth of the Baltic Dry Index last week, it has now started to decline again by several points, which could lead to a slight reduction in freight rates in the near future.