During the 27th week, the Azov region’s commodity market became active, which tugged freight along. Mostly residues were sold, but the new crop of barley had been already offered for shipment. Shipments were made by coasters to long-haul destinations, or in large parcels via Kavkaz roads transshipment. According to Glogos Project, the amount of available spot tonnage reduced significantly, and charterers began to lose momentum. Market insiders started talking seriously about the situation turning to owners’ advantage. By Friday, spot vessels were fixed at USD1-3 more than previous week, and the difference with the prompt ones reached USD5. However, the sharp spike in rates did not come as a great shock to charterers, who were already considering such a scenario when concluding their pre-sale contracts.
Many owners hope to see rates rise to the level of USD20 per ton on the basis of the voyage from Yeisk to the Turkish Black Sea ports in the near future. However, at the moment, the market is not ready to meet these expectations. There is still uncertainty on the part of the regulatory authorities: the restrictions have expired, but, at the same time, “nobody gave permission”. For now, it is unclear whether these are bureaucratic impediments or the ban is expected to be extended in order to protect the interests of monopolists. Therefore, rates on the basis of the voyage from Azov ports to the TBS are likely to remain at a level above USD15 in the near future, but the ceiling limit of USD20 will not be reached.
In general, despite positive forecasts for the grain yields this year in Russia, the prices in the Azov region’s commodity market went up following the Chicago Stock Exchange. Arguments regarding “reduction of price under the pressure of a new crop” do not work during negotiations. While the price gap was about USD5 at beginning of the reporting week, it increased towards the week end, and the prices offered by most Turkish buyers were not accepted. The latter agreed for price rising only when grain was needed to resupply the stock of raw materials in order not to stop production.
Starting from July 6, the permissible vessel draft was reduced at the lower reaches of the Don River; it will now be 3.1 meter. At the height of the grain season, this means an increase in the cost of river transportation. Many traders are beginning to trend towards delivering cargo to seaports by land in order to avoid the risks of vessel’s short-loading or idleness. The greatest headache for owners of deep-sea fleet is caused by water level fluctuations: due to the draft restrictions, they have to significantly underload their vessels sailing from the Caspian, or to include a ballast passage in the rate of the main cargo transportation towards the Caspian Sea.
According to Glogos Project, on week 27, freight rates for 3,000-5,000 dwt vessels for wheat parcels to the Sea of Marmara made $16 pmt from Rostov and Azov, $15 pmt from Yeisk and Taganrog, and $14 from Temryuk.
Freight rates for coal to the Sea of Marmara made $15 pmt from Rostov and Azov, $14 pmt from Yeisk and Taganrog, and $13 from Temryuk.
In general, the Caspian region’s market reacted relatively calmly, although the number of cargo offers increased slightly. This is due to the desire to sell the residues of grain stocks before the appearance of the new crop. During the week, rates rose by an average of a US dollar. However, even more growth is expected by the end of the month, so owners are not prepared to discuss consecutive voyages; they are fixing only spot positions.
Freight rates for 3,000 dwt vessels for barley to Iran made $19 pmt from Astrakhan, $13 from Aktau and $15 pmt from Makhachkala.
Please note that the rates cited in this article are average market rates. We ask our readers to pay attention that this information is not a commercial offer and cannot be an example for comparison in commercial disputes and arbitration.