For the first time in quite some time, tonnage seems to be tightening in the Baltic Sea markets, giving owners just enough leverage to seek higher-than-last freight levels and suggesting the possibility of a modest freight recovery on the verge of the fourth quarter of the year. With freights have traded at such low levels for so long, however, even the mildest of activity improvements is bound to trigger a recovery of sorts, but firming sentiment is nonetheless big news for a sector long under the spell of sluggish chartering demand. Southbound freights from the German Baltic into the Turkish Med have seen levels just under US$40/mt with at least one owner claiming to have reached that psychologically-important barrier already. Eastbound trips from WCUK to the German Baltic on general cargoes of 3,000mt have been observed at upwards of US$ 13/mt while the same is likely to secure around US$ 11-12/mt from ECUK. Further, westward-bound rates to ECUK are looking at upwards of US$ 12.5/mt and US$ 19.5/ mt from ARAG and the Baltic States, respectively. Northbound freights to the Irish Sea are seeing some buoyancy over last-done, too, with at least one fixture ex-ARAG heard to have secured US$ 15/mt on 5,000mt or US$ 0.5/mt up from early September.
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