A week of slight peaks and troughs with the market struggling to maintain gains. In the East the majors were again in the market for West Australia/China cargoes and rates climbed off the lows. Rates rose to $4.85 for February 170,000 tonne 10% cargoes from Dampier to Qingdao, but today there were reports that $4.50 has now been done. In the coal trades, BHP Billiton fixed a 10-15 February cargo from Hay Point to Qingdao at $5.00.
Timecharter activity was limited although a 180,000 tonner mid-week spot Singapore fixed for a trip via Richards Bay to India at $8,000 daily. At the same time a 170,000 tonner open 25 January Shanghai went for an east coast Australia round voyage at $4,250 daily.
Rates in the Atlantic perked up earlier in the week with talk that a Bolivar/Rotterdam cargo fixed at the equivalent of $12,000 daily for the round voyage. Since then a 174,000 tonner fixed from Cape Passero spot for a transatlantic round at $8,800 daily. Sources were now suggesting that rates from Bolivar to Rotterdam were nearer the mid $6,00 range but pointed out that Rotterdam costs have dropped due to weakness of the Euro against the US dollar. Improvements in rates from Brazil to the Continent were evident with $6.70 per long ton fixed for 170,000 tons 10% from Tubarao to Rotterdam. However there remained a significant supply of spot ships off South Africa competing for these cargoes. There too was a more positive tone to fronthaul cargoes, but details of rates were in short supply. The BCI fronthaul rate averaged out at $11.90.
The Atlantic market continued to weaken with transatlantic mineral cargoes in short supply and insufficient fronthaul business from the US Gulf to the East to lend any support to the market. Cargoes dried up for first half February cargoes with aggressive numbers talked going forward. The last done rate for a Panamax cargo from the US Gulf to China with hss was $31.50.
Most of the mineral cargoes fixed have largely been done on voyage basis at low rates with a 70,000 tonne 10% ore cargo fixed from Port Cartier to Hansaport at $7.95.
South America has been more active for fronthaul although again this market largely served by ships coming from the Indian Ocean or South East Asia. A weak market in the East has resulted in owners setting out in ballast rather than face the low rates on offer. Rates though from east coast South America have now dropped significantly under $12,000 and $200,000 bonus for standard types. Committed ships wanting transatlantic market faced rates that often did not included a bonus.
The East proved trying for owners with rates continuing to slide. Despite new Indonesia business the supply of tonnage meant charterers were able to pick and choose with rates dropping. A 74,000 tonner fixed from Indonesia earlier at $5,000 daily plus a $50,000 bonus. Charterers were prepared to pay slightly better numbers for NoPac cargoes but these were in short supply.
Another very difficult week for owners in all areas with evidence appearing that with the lack of business, some are scrambling to fix whatever they can just to keep their tonnage moving. In the US Gulf a 2008 built 58,700 dwt vessel was reported to have been booked for a trip to India with petcoke at around $13,000 daily. In the South Atlantic, earlier in the week, a 2011 built 58,000 dwt ‘Tess 58’ type was reportedly booked delivery south Brazil for a trip to Singapore-Japan at $10,500 daily plus a ballast bonus of about $125,000.
In the East, so-called back-haul business (if available) seemed to be paying as well as anything with reports that a 2006 built 52,000 dwt ‘Tess 52’ type had been fixed with Japan delivery for a trip back to the Mediterranean at about $7,500 daily for the 1st 70 days and $9,750 daily for the balance.
There was also some evidence that a few charterers, taking advantage of present market levels were looking to book tonnage for short period business. A nice 2013 built 61,300 dwt unit open north China was thought to be closely working such business in the ‘low/mid $9000’s’ daily.
Along with other sectors of the market, the handysize vessels have also been suffering although units prepared to consider breaching IWL have been able to obtain a significant premium. Earlier in the week, a 2012 built 37,000 dwt ship was reported to have been fixed passing the Skaw for a trip via St.Petersburg to the Mediterranean at around $10,000 daily. In the US Gulf, business was hard to come by as reports emerged of a 2002 built 32,700 ship being fixed delivery aps SW Pass for a trip to Morocco with grain at $7,250 daily.
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