Fundamentals continue to greatly favour owners of tonnage in the northern trades at the moment—indeed the European coaster market at large. Baltic and North Sea-based ships are fetching steadily rising offers and, note brokers, positions are extending to as much as two weeks ahead instead of the usual prompt business that the market has become accustomed to in recent years. A degree of conclusion on Brexit, brokers say, has given UK traders more confidence about forward positions. Charterers are finding it more challenging to get tonnage when they want it. Freights are rising across the board. Westward rates with fertilizers and grains from the Baltic States to ARAG have surged from high EUR 20s/mt into the low EUR 30/mt in little more than a week’s time to approach upwards of EUR 33-35/mt.
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