The Capesize market had a mild trading range this week hitting a high of $15,258 and a low of $13,414 to settle Friday at $13,560. While events in Europe have been disruptive, the trading activity was generally back to normal this week as most shipping routes are business as usual - albeit without the Black Sea trade routes. The Pacific was definitely the more volatile region with the transpacific C10 swinging positive by weeks end to $13,008. In comparison, the Transatlantic C8 was stable but softening throughout to close at $14,425. The Ballaster route C14 continues to trade at a discount at $8,845. Most voyage routes have seen solid gains this week. However, the underlying timecharter equivalent values have been battling to maintain parity as bunker levels have been rallying strongly with volatile swings. The crisis in eastern Europe continues to be a sharp focus for all shippers both from a commercial risk and operational viewpoint. Trade flows from the region remain in limbo with many owners now giving it a wide berth.
The market started slowly this week with many still observing and working out implications from events in Ukraine. Many ships open in the Black Sea or East Mediterranean were forced to seek alternative employment, which at first appeared to negatively impact market for the early part of the week. However, momentum was built midweek - especially on the fronthaul trips ex South America - whilst transatlantic mineral demand was slow, route P1A duly came off as a result. Asia, by contrast, grew in strength. Indonesia saw solid levels of coal demand. And by Thursday we saw further support with NoPac grain stems and coal ex Australia into India coming to the market, ending the week on a positive note. Period rates began to rally in line with FFAs and previous confidence prior to recent events with talk of several being placed by grain houses. Unconfirmed reports had a Kamsarmax fixing at $30,000 for one year.
Supramax / Ultramax
Undoubtedly an unprecedented week in recent times with the situation in Ukraine. Most owners are now unwilling to trade towards the Black Sea region and many vessels are leaving the area where possible. Brokers said that even from the Asian arena there was a reluctance from some to trade back to the Atlantic preferring to stay within Asia. Limited Atlantic business surfaced, but an ultramax was said to have been fixed from West Mediterranean to North Coast South America at $13,000. By contrast, sentiment remained strong from Asia and the Indian Ocean regions. More enquiry was seen from Indonesia, a 61,000-dwt open Makassar fixing a trip via Indonesia redelivery Japan at $42,500. From the Indian Ocean, a 63,000-dwt was heard fixed delivery Kandla trip via Beira redelivery East Coast India at $33,000. Limited period activity surfaced but a 63,000-dwt open US Gulf beginning March was heard fixed for two to three laden legs redelivery Atlantic at $30,500.
The Atlantic continues to soften with the ongoing Ukraine situation being closely monitored and a general lack of fresh enquiry across the board. A 37,000-dwt open US Gulf fixed a trip to the Continent at $14,750 with an intended cargo of wood pellets. By contrast, Asia is firming day on day with a lack of tonnage. A 39,000-dwt failing on subjects due to stow issues for a trip from Japan to Turkey at $50,000 with an intended cargo of containers. A 38,000-dwt was placed on subjects for a trip from Japan to the US Gulf at $46,000. Period remains active with a 32,000-dwt open Japan fixed for five to seven months with worldwide redelivery at $30,000. Another 32,000-dwt open Vietnam fixed for minimum three to about five months with worldwide redelivery at $32,000. A 35,000-dwt open in the East Mediterranean was fixed for four to six months with Far East redelivery at $22,000.