Despite the expectations of charterers, the downward trend in freight in the Azov region, which has been going on for more than three weeks, has stopped. During the reporting week, rates still showed a decrease of one US dollar, but this was rather by inertia; it should be expected that the market, if it does not start growing, will at least remain static, Glogos Project experts believe.
Charterers’ attempts to significantly push the market down with low prices (down to $15 on the Rostov to Marmara basis) had no chance of success as the entire spot tonnage was fixed by the end of the week, and the offers were discussed mostly with laycan in the second half of October.
In addition to the increasing initiative of exporters, adverse weather conditions continue to affect the volume of tonnage supply at the moment as a break in rhythm of shipments and a rise in the average voyage duration are aggravating the deficit of fleet.
Amid the global and domestic grain markets conditions, as well as the weak ruble, there is no reason to expect a decrease in the activity of traders in the near term. However, if the weather remains unchanged, there will be an increase in rates instead of growing of the actual volume of shipments; and this will be caused rather by the desire of charterers to ship the cargo, than by the number of confirmed fixtures.
On the brink of the end of inland waterways navigation, owners of Russian-flagged vessels, which are working from river ports, are already contracting for the 44th week and making decisions about positioning their fleet for winter, choosing between the Caspian and Azov regions. Now this process is just getting started; it will be possible to make conclusions about the balance of power for the winter closer to the end of October.
Shippers understand that this is their last chance to use inland waterways, otherwise, they will have to either store the cargo all winter, or take it to seaports by land, which is less commercially efficient. Owners will not hesitate to take financial advantage from this situation by raising rates for the “final” voyage.
According to Glogos Project, on week 41, freight rates for 3,000-5,000 dwt vessels for wheat parcels to the Sea of Marmara made $20 pmt from Rostov and Azov, $19 pmt from Yeisk and Taganrog, and $18 from Temryuk.
Freight rates for coal to the Sea of Marmara made $19 pmt from Rostov and Azov, $18 pmt from Yeisk and Taganrog, and $17 from Temryuk.
Freight rates in the Caspian grew did not change.
According to information from agricultural producers, the torrid summer in the Southern Federal District of Russia affected the yield of corn negatively (variously estimated, losses are expected to make up to 30%). Amid the need to fulfill previously concluded contracts on the part of exporters, small volumes, compared to the expected harvest, will stimulate a price growth in the Caspian region for a long time.
Consequently, rates are expected to increase during October; this is a more significant driver for the Caspian Sea than the upcoming end of navigation as there is a chance of a repetition of the last year’s situation, when Volgograd river port remained unfrozen, which allowed to continue shipments throughout the winter.
Freight rates for 3,000 dwt vessels for barley to Iran made $22 pmt from Astrakhan, $18 from Aktau and $19 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.