Bulker Update by BMTI’s London Shipbroker (22 May 2020)

handysizeThe Capesize recovery is welcome but not everyone is convinced. European holidays make the Atlantic picture in particular unclear although some weaker transatlantic negotiations were thought to be taking place but better rates were heard on the front haul. At midweek, Oldendorff fixed Tubarao/Qingdao at US$ 8/mt but it should be noted these improvements are taking place against the backdrop of rising bunker prices. Brent crude now stands at circa US$ 36 per barrel. In the Pacific West Australia/Qingdao is seeing decent enquiry with all the majors active and there still appears to be a shortage of early vessels that are able to comply with the Australian 14-day quarantine rule. BHP was heard to have paid US$ 4.70/mt with rumours Oldendorff paid US$ 4.80/mt and FMG rumoured fixed at US$ 4.85/mt.

Brokers commented on an increase in trans-Atlantic enquiry for Panamaxes at midweek, though this was possibly due to charterers clearing their books ahead of the Ascension Day holidays. Certainly the trans-Atlantic route remains over-tonnaged and owners seemingly willing to snap up any opportunity, rates generally remain weak. From ECSA activity has also increased and despite the holidays a positive tone was in the air with market levels showing improve¬ment for June laycan—a 2013-built, 82,000 dwt vessel was fixed delivery ECSA for mid June at US$ 11,750 daily plus US$ 175,000 BB. Argentinean grain exports have suffered severe disruption due to depleted water levels in the River Parana and normal levels may not return until October. The Pacific has witnessed continuing demand from NoPac and has just received a shot in the arm from increased coal movements ex-Indonesia. Some brokers think this may be a pre-Eid holiday spurt. Regardless, rates showed some improvement. A 2013-built, 80,000 dwt ship obtained US$ 7,000 delivery Hong Kong for a trip via Indonesia redelivery China, and more enquiry was seen from charterers to take vessels from Southeast Asia for ECSA round voyages.

Supramaxes in the Atlantic have seen low enquiry today due to the European holidays. ECSA was con¬sidered a little better but the US Gulf remains under pressure, a 2006-built, 54,000 dwt vessel was ru¬moured as fixed from Houston to South Korea at US$ 8,750 daily although the vessel’s fuel consumption is regarded as heavy. The Black Sea has gone quieter with front haul stems lacking. A scrubber fitted ultra fixed short period out of the PG earlier in the week at US$ 11,000 and it appears scrubbers are carrying a premium in the region US$ 1,500 daily. Trip rates out of India remain firm and there were rumours of a Supramax fixing from WC India to China around US$ 12,000 and from EC India a 57,000 dwt fixing delivery Bangladesh for a trip via EC India redelivery China at US$ 13,250 daily. De¬mand is such that it is sucking in vessels from Southeast Asia. A 63,000 dwt open in Vung Tau fixed a trip via EC India redelivery China at US$ 9,500 daily DOP and a 57,000 dwt fixed at US$ 9,000 delivery Singapore for a similar run. Essentially this is firming up the whole Pacific basin. Indonesian and Australi¬an rates have had to firm in response and a 61,000 dwt fixed at US$ 6,000 daily with delivery North China for a time charter trip via Indonesia redelivery CJK while a 56,000 dwt vessel has fixed delivery CJK for a similar trip in the mid-high US$ 6,000s daily range. From Australia, meanwhile, a 63,000dwt ship open CJK fixed a round voyage at US$ 7,000 daily.

Handysizes have inevitably also been affected by the holidays in Continental Europe but from midweek there was more Atlantic activity. Brokers thought rates look poised—however, the Black Sea and US Gulf regions continue to see weak numbers. Rate improvements in the Pacific have a more robust feel and are also helped by ECI demand with a 35,000 dwt open in Kohsichang heard to have fixed at US$ 5,000 DOP for a trip via EC India for a trip to China, charterers were heard to be willing to pay today US$ 9,000 daily basis delivery Thailand on a 35,000 dwt for a trip to China. Out of the PG, a 34,000 dwt was taken at US$ 8,250 daily for a trip to Philippines.

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