Dry Bulk Market Overview (23 May 2023)

Owners of Capesize tonnage continue to insist that enquiry is high and charterers are putting in new orders despite the fact that average rates continue to slide across the board. Whether the corrections will persist into the week ahead remains to be seen, but a stronger wave of demand would be needed to soak up the plentiful avails that are awash in both hemi­spheres, presenting challenges to owners who were hoping to lock in some last-minute business before the summer months start to bring a lull in earnest.

Lo and behold, it would appear that Panamax trends are starting to stabilize on the day-to-day spot market. Or at least the beginning of the week saw daily declines slow to a trickle in both hemispheres as TARVs steadied in the US$ 9,000s and front haul trips seemed to have lost the desire to drift below US$ 19,000 daily. There are even a few rumours of new demand in Southeast Asia, pushing rates into modest positivity based on early June positions. Indo rounds on Kamsarmaxes are in the US$ 8,000s.

Continue reading

North Sea Activity Slows as European Holidays Kick In (10 May 2023)

Holidays here and holidays there (not to mention the odd historic coronation in between) are putting the brakes on business activity to a notable degree across the North Sea and, to a less extent, the Baltic market as well. Coaster trades are nonetheless more stable than one might expect them to be at this juncture with week-on-week losses looking rather minimal. On the other hand, compared to this time a year ago, rate levels have declined rather steadily and unrelentingly in the past 12 months with inter-Bal­tic westward freights now in the low EUR 20s/mt (basis general cargoes of 5,000mt) whereas the same business was fetching mid-high EUR 30s/mt in May of 2022. Admittedly, this was at extraordinarily high levels compared to the historical average, benefiting from the remainder of positive market vibes from the mighty upsurge of 2021. But this year’s nominal return to normality has not been as brutal as many predicted it might be. Baltic-based short sea owners are still making profits from their agreements even if earnings are nothing like they were 1-2 years ago. Northbound freights from the GNS are fetching mid-EUR 20s/mt of up to EUR 25/mt based on Irish Sea redelivery even as they began the year trading in the EUR 30s/mt. Southbound freights fixed from the UK North Sea to the Sea of Marmara are no longer fetching EUR 50s/mt as they did a month ago, but 3,000mt generals can still get high EUR 40s/mt.

To get exclusive news and trend analysis on the European short sea markets on a weekly basis, subscribe to the BMTI Short Sea Report.

Far East Handy Bulk Review (25 Apr 2023)

The Pacific Supramax freights have remained largely buoyant over the past week with average rates for NoPac rounds gaining some US$ 750-1,000 week-on-week to settle at rates of around US$ 10,500 with reports of as much as US$ 11,000 in negoti­ations in tonnage of 58,000 dwt. Indeed, backhaul rates have already been reported at this level on Ultramaxes ex-ECI back to the Continent. Indonesia rounds are also climbing back quickly compared to weeks past with upwards of US$ 14,500 daily not available on tonnage of 58,000 dwt (ex-WCI) and as much as US$ 16,000 on tonnage of 62,000 dwt. Unlike the larger Supras and Ultras, eastern Han­dysize rates have not increased noticeably over the past week, although they have not decreased either. This stability is what owners have come to expect and last few days have born that out. N.China deli­very of 38-42,000 dwt tonnage to CJK or S.Korea is about as likely to secure about US$ 10,250 daily as it was a week earlier. Steel cargoes are being shipped on tonnage of 42,000 dwt ex-S.China to the UKC-Med at up to US$ 13,000, brokers say. Trips from the Singapore-Japan area to Southeast Asia on stan­dard Handy tonnage are fetching mid US$ 9,000s.

For exclusive news and updates about dry bulk shipbroking, subscribe to the BMTI Daily Report.

Handy Bulk Market Overview (13 Apr 2023)

bulk carrierOff the Continent, an Ultramax was taken for a trip to the East at US$ 20,000 daily, and at US$ 15,500 daily for a trip tip to West Africa on Supra tonnage. Ultra scrap TC rates are hovering around US$ 13,500-14,000 daily. The Black Sea looks stable with 30,000mt booked from Romania to the East Med at TCE of US$ 13,500 daily. Rates are still sounding okay from the Med where clinker charterers took an Ultra at US$ 18,000 daily to West Africa. Grain charterers are linked with a 30,000mt cargo from Romania to the Adriatic at a TCE of 13,500 daily. A 36,000 dwt is rumoured as done at US$ 11,000 daily for 5-7 months of trading. From West Africa, Ultra owners were rating a trip via South Africa to the East at US$ 18,000 daily. A Handy of 33,000 dwt was ballasted to Santos to get fixed at US$ 14,000 daily for a trip to Morocco, which isn’t really exciting.

Continue reading

Dry Bulk Market Overview (31 Mar 2023)

cement bulker kosThe Capesize market is showing more activity on the iron ore routes with some stabilized freight rates in the high US$ 7s/mt for mid-April loading out of Western Australia into China. The trans-Pacific rounds are firming with rates talked in the low/mid US$ 13,000s daily. In the Atlantic some demand from West Africa is supporting freight rates, but from Brazil business remains low with freight rates in the mid-high US$ 20s/mt. Front hauls hover in the range of US$ 29,000 per day. The firming trend for the Panamax rates continues with gains in the three-digital range day-on-day realized on nearly every major route and interesting opportunities seen in both hemispheres. Increasing demand for period chartering in the Pacific is evident with middle-aged vessels open in Southern China for short-period trading rumoured in the range of US$ 14-15,000 daily for delivery beginning April. The Indonesian round seems to be the only exception with the spot rates having difficulty clinging to last-done levels. The downward trend for Handy bulk rates is unbroken with declines of more than US$ 1,000 per day seen on the Indonesian round for Supra tonnage. Fresh activity is not very abundant and the Pacific basin is generally losing more steam than the Atlantic. An older 56,000 dwt failed at US$ 12,500 daily for a trip via Indonesia with destination South Korea and delivery Southern China. An Ultramax is being talked about on subs for about US$ 19,000 daily for an iron ore trip from Guatemala via WCSA to China. Demand for Handysize shipments in the East Med and Black Sea seems to be positive, which is supporting rates in the region and is even driving firming trends along the trans-Atlantic routes. For exclusive news and updates about dry bulk shipbroking, subscribe to the BMTI Daily Report.

Panamax freights in limbo (21 Mar 2023)

Defying the pessimists, Capesize markets seem to have a bit of energy left to spare with a new round of activity in the eastern basin helping push the Pacific RV back into positive territory and into the US$ 19,000s once again. Whether rates will stay buoyant on this route and, perhaps more importantly, start to inspire other bullish bounces around the market, remains very much to be seen. But Capesize owners are happy to see that a true correction in spot market freight trends is far from a foregone conclusion.

Continue reading

Rate Hike Slows in Smaller Bulkers (07 Mar 2023)

bulk carrierThe Capesizes do not appear to be running out of steam any time soon with the week kicking off with strong improvements nearly across the board as trans-Atlantic RVs near the US$ 11,000s and front hauls trips seem bound to reach US$ 25,000 daily by mid-week. Pacific-based round voyage business is also quite bullish at the moment with owners securing upwards of US$ 13,000 daily on standard RV basis (despite charterers’ efforts to lock in US$ 11-12,000) or about double the rates of two weeks ago.

Continue reading

Open tonnage widens for Baltic coasters (11 Jan 2023)

The holidays don’t seem to have ended just yet for the northern European trades, at least in terms of business activity, with cargo demand being assessed as sluggish across the board and open tonnage start­ing to pile up along nearly every standard route. This has provided some advantageous rate levels for the charterers who have waded into the market in the early days of 2023 with inter-Baltic rates in the westward direction having lost as much as EUR 2/ mt from their levels of mid-December as general cargoes of 5,000mt are able to secure EUR 24-25/mt from Klaipeda to ARAG whereas the same would not have fallen under EUR 26/mt in the ‘normal’ days of Q4-2022, shipbrokers assert. Ice class re­quirements and stable bunker prices are shoring up freights to some degree, but the lack of steady business, on the whole, is giving charterers plenty of tonnage options to pick and choose from. Brokers doubt this very quiet market climate will continue for much longer, but those opportunistic few that have cargo to move are taking advantage of the situ­ation. Northbound trips from Spanish Med to ECUK are fetching high EUR 30s/mt at upwards of EUR 38/mt on 3-4,000mt agri-prod cargoes while the opposite direction is giving closer to EUR 35/mt.

To get exclusive news and trend analysis on the European short sea markets on a weekly basis, subscribe to the BMTI Short Sea Report.

Handy Bulk off to slow start in 2023 (03 Jan 2023)

cement bulker kosThe first working day of the new year was more an extension of the Christmas-New Year break. With London, plus a few other places off, there is hardly anything worth reporting. But one thing can be taken for granted and that is that charterers will keep endeavouring to push rates down further to test the owners’ limits. And, now, seeing charterers rating a 37,000 dwt vessel at US$ 8,000 daily for a trip from Finland into the East Med is right in line with the prevailing bearish sentiment. For the first quarter of 2023, Handysize tonnage will be unlikely to do any better than around this level for trips to the Med, ECSA and US Gulf…for West Africa maybe US$ 11-12,000 daily would be possible. Handysize rates for trading across the East have been falling apace with charterers seen rating a 32,000 dwt for a trip from China to Indonesia at US$ 5,500 daily. Australian rounds are being closely traded at around US$ 7,500 daily with delivery South India, at which a similar level was also agreed on a 30,000 dwt vessel for a 15-day employment in Southeast Asia. Back haul charterers want the rate for a 32,000 dwt to be down below US$ 7,000 daily for a trip to the Continent. Amongst this unpleasant news, the freight rate of US$ 9,500 daily on a 32,000 dwt for a trip from PG via South Africa to WC India is a welcome highlight.

For exclusive news and updates about dry bulk shipbroking, subscribe to the BMTI Daily Report.

Recovery in Atlantic Panamax rates (15 Dec 2022)

It seems far too early to call the Capesizes over with their week-starting slump looking increasingly like a temporary bump on a steadily rising pathway. Levels on long haul rates have jumped into action in East and West alike with only the Pacific RVs taking longer to catch up, still falling by US$ 500 day-on-day, but looking more likely to bounce back before the week is through. Otherwise, rates like the front haul and trans-Atlantic RV are gaining some US$ 2,000 day-on-day with the former reaching US$ 32,000 and the latter easily exceeding US$ 20,000 daily as owners seek to fix US$ 21,000 and higher.

Continue reading

Pacific Supramax rates climb back above opex (28 Nov 2022)

bulk carrierFar East Supramaxes launched a recovery of sorts in the final days of the week, leaving NoPac rounds as much as US$ 1,500 higher than they started the week and average rates (basis N.China delivery) in the middle US$ 8,000s daily range versus the middle US$ 7,000s range they were trading in just a week before. With owners still pushing to get rates above OPEX (operating costs) as soon as possible, charterers are putting up less resistance to any offers of upgraded rates. Indo rounds have been heard to be securing as much as US$ 12,000. Far East Handysize freights have been stable of late (unlike their Atlantic counterparts) with the south­bound rates to Southeast Asia still circa US$ 10,500. For exclusive news and updates about dry bulk shipbroking, subscribe to the BMTI Daily Report.

BMTI Dry Bulk Update (24 Nov 2022)

cement bulker kosAs predicted by BMTI at midweek, Capesize rates have, in fact, bounced back quite convincingly with a strong uptick in long haul rate levels in the Atlantic in particular. Trans-Atlantic RVs jump by as much as US$ 3,000 day-on-day to hit the mid-high teens of US$ 16-17,000 daily with talk of US$ 18-19,000 daily already being bandied about for the weekend. ECSA/UKC voyage freights are also up by nearly US$ 1/mt day-on-day with upwards of US$ 11.5/ mt now available on modern 180,000 dwt tonnage.

Continue reading

BMTI Dry Bulk Market Update (24 Oct 2022)

Fortunes have faded to a degree for the Capesize owners in the final days of October as the days get shorter and cargo demand gets a bit thinner on the ground. Certain brokers are predicting another surge of Atlantic demand in the coming days and there is reason to expect something similar in the Pacific, but for the moment the spot market is trending back toward charterer interests as avails start expanding. Brazil/UKC voyages are steady at US$ 12.3/mt.

Continue reading

BMTI Investment Review (5 Oct 2022)

Winning Shipping made several moves this month as part of an ongoing fleet renewal including buying the 10-year-old, 180,000 dwt “Frontier Triumph” while selling both a post-Panamax and 21-year-old Capesize for scrap. The purchase and demolitions bring the Singapore-based owner’s fleet to 39 ships. Hamish Norton, president of bulker operator Star Bulk, said his company has “no plans” to order any new bulk carriers as long as the imple­mentation of new environmental regulations such as the IMO’s upcoming EEXI and CII indices remains uncertain. Such orders, says Norton, may end up be­ing “stranded assets” by 2030 as the ESG landscape will likely be quite different in a decade from now. Nasdaq-listed bulker companies had a bearish week with nearly every stock down. Eagle Bulk [EGLE] fell 9% to US$40.4, Golden Ocean [GOGL] lost 16% to US$ 7.3 and Diana [DSX] slid 22% to US$ 3.6. For exclusive news and updates about dry bulk shipbroking, subscribe to the BMTI Daily Report.

BMTI Dry Bulk Market Update (29 Sep 2022)

cement bulker kosAs they sometimes do, Capesize rates are splitting into hemispheres with Pacific rates under pressure (possibly ahead of next week’s Golden Week) and Atlantic rates largely buoyant. Western buoyancy is being led by front haul demand with consecutive daily upgrades of around US$ 1,000 lifting rates (ex-UKC) from the middle US$ 30,000s to the high US$ 30,000s in just a few short days. Some shipowners already claim to be seeing rate offers for US$ 40,000 daily on modern tonnage based on US Gulf delivery.

Continue reading

BMTI Dry Bulk Commodity News (13 Sep 2022)

World food prices marginally declined for the fifth month in a row in August, based on the World Food Price Index created by the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Consumers have welcomed the easing in price inflation following the massive surge that happened immediately after the onset of war in Ukraine. Despite the decline, the UN hastened to add that food prices remain at historically high levels and that index values in the 140-160 range are still around 50% higher than the five-year-average when the index was consistently steady in the 90-100 range before the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Average wheat prices, for example, are still some 10% higher than they were this time last year. The FAO also lowered its 2022 grain output forecast by 1.4%, citing heat waves in the EU among other global production limitations.

Continue reading

Dry Bulk Market Overview (24 Aug 2022)

cement bulker kosHaving fallen to their lowest level since February, Capesize rates were in the doldrums until the start of this week when a recovery in sentiment saw most levels starting to bounce back by midweek. The rally is most pronounced in the Pacific, where RV rates have swiftly climbed from the US$ 6,000s into the US$ 8-9,000s in just 48 hours. The reduction in congestion levels in the month of August has had a positive impact on returning charterers to the spot market, which shipowners hope will stay a virtuous cycle going into the end of the month. Brokers report that BHP has suddenly found themselves fac­ing a challenge in finding or fixing any ships ETA Port Hedland as few owners have been willing to agree to index rates, a bullish indication to be sure.

Continue reading

BMTI Investment Review (1 Aug 2022)

Navios Maritime Partners bought 36 bulk carriers from its parent company Navios Maritime Holdings for US$ 835m, bundled along with US$ 441.6m in debt from bank liabilities and leasing obligations.

Dry bulk operator, Pacific Basin, says it generated a greatly improved profit in the first half of 2022 at US$ 465.1m. This was a considerable gain from the US$ 160.1m of profit it saw in H1-2021 and the company’s best profit so far. The Hong Kong-based company, controlling a fleet of 240 bulkers, says net daily TCE earnings for Handysizes and Supramaxes rose 83% and 85% year-on-year to US$ 26,370 and US$ 33,840 over the first six months of the year.

Bullish trends remained in place on Wall Street as bulker shares rose across the board. Diana Shipping [DSX] and Safe Bulkers [SB] increased 9.3% and 7.8% week-on-week to US$ 5.6 and US$ 3.9 per share.

For exclusive news and updates about dry bulk shipbroking, subscribe to the BMTI Daily Report.

BMTI Dry Bulk Commodity Update (15 Jul 2022)

wheatAverage commodities prices have eased in recent weeks after peaking in June, according to the Bloom­berg Commodity Spot Index, which tracks 23 fu­tures for energy, metal and crop commodities. The index has fallen by 20% since hitting an all-time record level in June. Prices for agri-prods including wheat and other grain crops have started to ease under worries that a stagnating world economy will start to hurt demand going forward in 2022. With the ongoing restrictions stemming from the war in Ukraine and ever-present inflationary forces likely to remain in play this year, nonetheless, the momen­tary decline was called a relief, however temporary, for consumers and end users of raw materials.

Continue reading

BMTI Investment Review (13 June 2022)

The small-sized bulkers are emerging as champions among all size classes for bulk carriers with recent estimates by Allied showing that average S&P prices for Supramaxes and Handysizes have increased by 104% and 101%, respectively, since the beginning of 2021. Sales prices for Capes and Panamaxes rose by 74% and 64% over the same time period. Likewise, freight earnings for Supras and Handies since the start of 2022 have outperformed those of the larger Panamaxes and Capesizes.

NYSE-listed dry bulk operator Safe Bulkers [SB] has been selected by Seeking Alpha as a “top pick” for investors considering that it trades at a “significant discount” to its other dry bulk peers while also being considered the most discounted bulker pure-play by a wide margin.

Continue reading

BMTI’s Handy Bulk Market Insight (17 May 2022)

Off the Continent, the owners of a 38,000 dwt vessel have been testing charterers at a rate of US$ 29,000 daily for a trip via the Baltic Sea to the eastern Mediterranean, which ended up failing to attract charterers who were talking US$ 24,500. From the Black Sea area, loading in some Russian ports is now laden with an additional EWRI cost of around US$ 80,000 daily on top of the already much higher premium rates, owners are holding out for. Grain charterers continue quoting two cargoes from Romania to Tunisia, for which they aim at US$ 34-35/mt. A 30,000 dwt vessel is said to have been fixed at US$ 25,000 daily for a trip to the US Gulf.

Continue reading

BMTI Dry Bulk Market Overview (3 May 2022)

cement bulker kosCountering recent, if modest, declines in day-to-day spot rates, Capesize owners are relatively confident that May will represent a return in demand and rate growth. The past week for Capes was, in fact, largely positive with the BCI up by 16% week-on-week and prospects still widely positive for the biggest bulkers going deeper into the second quarter of the year. Inter-Pacific demand has been fairly lively in recent days as mineral demand returns to some degree. Pa­cific RVs are holding steady at about US$ 12/mt.

Continue reading

BMTI Investment Review (27 Apr 2022)

Shipping equities have performed surprisingly well in 2022 thus far, notes Clarksons in a recent market update, with average gains of 2-3% over the Easter holidays alone as well as 26% for all shipping sectors across the board year-to-date. Stock prices for tank­ers and bulkers have enjoyed a particularly sharp rise over the year so far with average gains of 41% YTD. The bulker and tanker operator Norden has recently initiated a new foray into second-generation biofuel burning derived from recycled cooking oil. Compa­ny head of Climate Solutions, Adam Nielson, says that Norden intends for at least 50 of its 500 vessels to be running on biofuel within the next five years. Shipping stocks have seen steady gains this year, as mentioned above, with some listed bulker shares up by more than 50% in the year thus far. Eagle Bulk [EGLE], for instance, is up by 55.7% since the year began to trade at US$ 55.3 per share. Golden Ocean [GOGL] has climbed 50.1% YTD to US$ 11.5. For exclusive news and updates about dry bulk shipbroking, subscribe to the BMTI Daily Report.

BMTI Dry Bulk Commodity Update (7 Apr 2022)

wheatAfter slowing with the onset of war in the last week of February, Russian wheat exports surged in March as the country moved to accelerate shipments to traditional buyers including Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Libya. Agricultural consultancy SovEcon said that Russian wheat shipments were leaving ports at a rapid pace in the second half of March with rerouting and payment considerations having been mostly resolved. Some of those shipments, market observ­ers noted, went to countries that traditionally buy from Ukraine. Russia exported around 1.7 Mt of wheat in March, about 60% more than what was exported in March of 2021 (1.1 Mt), according to ProZerno, though for historical context last March also saw Russia’s grain exports fall to below average levels due to newly introduced export taxes.

Continue reading

BMTI Dry Bulk Market Overview (29 Mar 2022)

Very little has come to pass to slow the decline of Capesize freights as they continue to slide going into the final week of March and the first quarter of the year. Revived South American demand that has buoyed the Panamaxes so noticeably seems to have bypassed Capes for the moment as trans-Atlantic RV rates keep falling by more than US$ 1,000 day-on-day to hit the US$ 10-11,000 daily and quite likely enter the four-digit realm of the US$ 9,000s by midweek (brokers surmise). Front hauls are falling by a similar margin to trade in the high US$ 20,000s.

Continue reading

BMTI Investment Review (16 Mar 2022)

investmentChilean-owned bulk carrier company Ultrabulk saw revenues double in 2021 compared to the year before, according to its newest financial report, with US$ 1.8 billion for last year’s total revenues (versus US$ 0.9 billion in 2020). After-tax results amounted to US$ 75m in 2021 compared to a deficit of US$ 16m in 2020. The Copenhagen-headquartered firm is one of the world’s largest bulker owners with a fleet of 179 vessels. Ultramax predicts its results for this year will land somewhere in the US$ 40-80m range thanks to ongoing “momentum” from last year and “strong operations” continuing into this year.

Continue reading

BMTI Dry Bulk Commodity Update (24 Feb 2022)

wheatNew supply contracts for potash secured in India and China have had ripple effects across the entire global potash market. The new import contracts, agreed at around US$ 590/mt CFR in both nations, represented a more than doubling of the previous contract agreements and essentially lifted the lower end of the price range for potash trading around the world. The lower limit for MOP netbacks (profit minus all supply costs) on Jordan-Israel trades, for instance, jumped by more than US$ 300/mt on the news to reach US$ 510-550/mt. Baltic Sea-based standard MOP netbacks rocketed to the range of US$ 520-560/mt (EUR 460-495/mt) FOB from a prior range of US$ 190-560/mt FOB. European potash demand itself, however, has remained static over the past week with granular spot prices stable with CIF prices (basis NW Europe) at EUR 570-600/mt.

Continue reading

BMTI Handy Bulk Market Overview (9 Feb 2022)

bulk carrierThe chartering market is living up to earlier and repeatedly expressed expectations, i.e. staging a buoyant comeback by the end of February and/or early March, which proved to be conservative in hindsight—it happened, in fact, two weeks earlier. Alas, the Continent is lagging behind although owners feel encouraged to start quoting higher rates, which has less to do with the rise in the number of cargoes, than of a change in perception. The owners of a 34,000 dwt want US$ 15,000 daily for a trip to Brazil, which number they had not dared quoting last week. A 50,000 dwt vessel was rated by charterers at US$ 15,000 daily for a trip to the Med. The Black Sea also looks moderately better. Clinker charterers are facing stronger numbers with an Ultramax covered at US$ 23,000 daily from the eastern Mediterranean to West Africa.

Continue reading

2021 in Review: Panamaxes Defy Expectations (28 Dec 2021)

Unlike the Capesizes, which seem to have lost the majority of their 2021 gains in the final two months of the year, Panamax freights end the year still considerably higher than where they started it. The Panamax index closes the year at around 2,500 versus the sub-1,500 level at which it began 12 months prior. Indeed, it is still a notable decline from the over 4,000 level reached in October (the highest in several years), but it is nonetheless the sign of a strong fundamental market and one that is already recovering in the final weeks of the year thanks to renewed demand for Atlantic grain. Pacific redelivery demand for Atlantic grain was, in fact, what got the fire started for Panamaxes early in the year as the reduced import volumes from 2020 left a serious gap in food stocks across the eastern basin. Renewed import demand in the first half of the year saw China’s soybean imports jump by 16.8% YoY in the year through April.

Continue reading