Greek owners are said to be little nervous about 2020 with the upcoming challenge to meet the now sulphur cap standards. Some believe this could lead to a three or four-tier market. The uncertainty is worrying them without doing too much about it. The Atlantic chartering market is lacking momentum, whilst South Africa is flourishing and of course the South American area is still being dominated by Kamsarmax demand, whilst other sizes are trailing. Off the Continent, voyage rates for local trading are equivalent to US$ 9,000 daily for Ultramax vessels. Scrap charterers were seeing US$ 15-16,000 daily for a trip to Bangladesh which sounds unrealistic. Handysize freight rates have been about holding with a 32,000 dwt fixed into the central Med in the region of US$ 9,500 daily with delivery in the Baltic. The dearth of inquiry from Med-Black Sea is keeping rates at pretty low levels. On the other hand, achieving the equivalent of US$ 11,000 daily on a 62,000 dwt from West to East Med is not to be sniffed at.
From the ECSA, Panamax owners decided not to go for a cargo from Praia Mole to the US Gulf, for which the owners indicated a competitive number, after their grain trader warned them about the likelihood of Chinese cancellation of soybean deals, which on the background of the ongoing spat between the United States and China would not come as a surprise. Panamax brokers expect demand for tonnage to remain strong also within June from the area.
South Africa has been very busy in recent weeks with rising demand for tonnage leading to US$ 13,400 daily plus US$ 340,000 BB for a trip from Richards Bay to WC India. Supply of Ultramax ships is likely to stay tight until 10 June. The strong demand from South Africa and attractive rates obtainable has caused a shortage of tonnage in the PG-WCI area, which explains the huge rates reported as fixed for the larger vessel from the PG to China and India.
Freights for Handysize tonnage for 32-35,000 dwt vessels for a trip to Med are hovering around US$ 7,500 to US$ 8,000 daily. A 38,000 dwt OHA ship was taken at US$ 8,750 for a trip to the Med. Another 32,000 dwt ship was traded from Richards Bay to West Africa at around US$ 7,750 daily. From West Africa the present rate would hardly be better than US$ 5,000 daily for a trip to the Continent.
In the East, a 56,000 dwt failed at US$ 9,250 daily for 3-5 months of trading with delivery China. Back haul rates for Supra and Ultra vessels should not be much better than US$ 3,000 daily for a trip to US Gulf area according to charterers. Handysize owners of a 32,000 dwt were suggesting US$ 8,500 daily for 23 laden legs trading with delivery in Bangladesh.
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