Still a largely depressing week for the big ships although there was an increase in rates from West Australia to China for late March but this was largely the result of draft issues at Dampier prompting a premium. Rio Tinto conceded $4.70 for a 28 March onwards 170,000 tonne 10% cargo from Dampier to Qingdao and the charterer reportedly remained in the market. Another charterer allegedly fixed a 5 April cargo from West Australia to Qingdao around $4.55. Timecharter rates for 174,000 to 176,000 tonners were around $3,500 to $4,000 daily for Pacific rounds. The Saldanha Bay/Qingdao rates were in the low to mid $7.00 range for mid-April cargoes.
Brazil/China rates remained in the doldrums with rates hovering around $10.00. Further north, owners were trying to resist fixing at current low rates on offer and reportedly a 13-22 April 150,000-tonne 10% cargo went at an improved $4.75 for a 150,000 tonne 10% cargo from Bolivar to Rotterdam. A 177,000 tonner open on the Continent was rumoured to have agreed $3,600 daily for a transatlantic round.
South American activity drove the market this week with active fixing and improvement in rates for cargoes to the East. A 74,000 tonner 2000-built reportedly agreed $12,000 daily plus a $200,000 bonus for 9-14 April from east coast South America to the East. A kamsarmax fixed at an improved $9,350 daily plus a $250,000 bonus for early April delivery passing the Cape of Good Hope on this run. Several charterers took ships from the Indian Ocean area at dop rates and there were a couple fixed from Skaw-Cape Passero at rates in the low $9,000 daily range. North Atlantic trading has again been minimal although a 75,000 tonner spot Gibraltar fixed a Plate/Continent run at $5,250 daily.
The pace slowed in the East as fewer new cargoes appeared for NoPac rounds and rates drifted. A 1999-built 73,600 tonner open Qingdao went at $4,250 daily for a NoPac round while a 2001-built 73,000-tonner ex drydock Dalian fixed for a NoPac round at $5,000 daily.
The increased South American activity saw eco kamsarmaxes appearing to favour trips to India for repositioning.
This activity has prompted a step up in period activity with charterers still in the market. There was talk of an eco Kamsarmax fixing for 4 to 6 months retroactive Ennore 5 March at $8,600 daily. However an 82,000 tonner agreed $7,250 daily for 23-25 March delivery Hong Kong for 4 to 7 months trading.
More activity in the Atlantic especially in the southern hemisphere as owners started to feel more optimistic. A 2005 built 52,400 dwt ‘Tess 52’ type was reported to have been booked delivery Recalada for a trip to Algeria at a better $11,500 daily. There was some scrap enquiry from the UK-Cont area and although there seemed to be a plentiful supply of tonnage, rates had edged up from the recent lows. A 2004 Japanese built 52,800 dwt vessel open Dublin was fixed for a trip via the UK-Cont to the east Mediterranean at about $9,200 daily.
The Mediterranean markets however remained lacklustre as reports emerged of a 2011 built 56,700 dwt ‘Dolphin’ type being booked delivery Canakkale for a trip via the Black Sea to China at $7,500 daily.
Handysize activity has also been in evidence from this side, including a 35,000 tonner obtaining around $9,250 daily for a trip from the Baltic to Italy, otherwise in the South Atlantic there were reports a large handy went for a trip from the Plate to North Africa in the mid $9,000’s.
In the East, although the north Pacific area seemed quiet, there was more business to be found in the South East Asia region with rates improving slightly. A 2009 built 58,700 dwt vessel said to have ballasted from north China was reported to have been fixed delivery Singapore for a trip via the Philippines to China with nickel ore at about $7,500 daily.
Handysizes have picked up in the East despite charterers trying to keep rates depressed. At the turn of the week, a 28,000 tonner open Singapore went for a trip via Australia in the low $5,000s and later in the week a similar vessel achieved $6,000 daily for a similar trip although it has to be said the vessel was open Cilacap, a very attractive position for loading West Australia.
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