A virtuous cycle of increased cargo ordering spurred by tightening avails, thus spurring more ordering (and so on), has taken over in the northern trades, brokers agree, with rates seeing more upward movement in recent weeks than they have all year, letting October take its traditional role as one of the most—if not the most—bullish months of the year. Freights are moving so quickly to new highs that they are likely to return to year-ago levels by the beginning of November, which would be an impressive recovery to close out an altogether disappointing year. The year is, of course, hardly over, but owners hold hope that it will maintain its positive trajectory for at least the duration of November as freights return to their “true” market level and upward corrections continue apace. Rates ex-ARAG to WCUK (3,000mt general cargoes) have continued to fluctuate over October in the low teens of EUR 11-12/mt with rates already rumoured to have reached EUR 13-14/mt for early November positions. Eastbound traffic from ECUK to the Baltic States is hitting the mid-high teens of EUR 15-16/mt, brokers say, while the reverse from the Baltic States to ARAG has long since surpassed EUR 20/mt to start trading in the low EUR 20s/mt.
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