CEO Morning Brief

Baltic Exchange Shipping Updates: March 17, 2023

Publish date: Tue, 21 Mar 2023, 08:53 AM
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TheEdge CEO Morning Brief
Baltic Exchange shipping updates: March 17, 2023

A weekly round-up of tanker and dry bulk market (March 17, 2023)

This report is produced by the Baltic Exchange.

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The Capesize lifted US$2,401 for its time charter average on Tuesday, but failed to keep up the uprising trend throughout the week. It closed at US$15,867, which is still an improvement week-on-week. The Atlantic basin cooled off in the middle of the week with limited cargoes lending further support. The fronthaul run eventually slipped beneath US$30,000 on Friday. In the Pacific, the backhaul run was one step away from coming back to positive territory and is currently marked at -US$333. The west Australia to Qingdao run climbed above US$9, but soon declined back to the mid/high US$8s. Coal from east Australia to China appeared active, with some paying close to US$20,000 for a round trip at one stage.


It proved to be a muddling week for the Panamax market, which started out positively for owners but ends on something of a tepid nature. In the Atlantic, much of the activity early part of the week was on the fronthaul trips from the America’s with solid levels of support. The end March arrival window ex EC South America was perhaps the exception with rates here under pressure. Fronthaul rates via NC South America hovered around the US$22/23,000 level depending on the respective ship’s specs and delivery. Asia returned a similar story with the coal runs ex Indonesia supported early part with several deals concluded around the US$17,000 mark for 75,000d-dwt types. However, rates eased back as the weekend approached. Longer trips were lacking and Australia coal runs into India were the only trip supported. Plenty of period activity on the week, US$18,750 agreed for one year on an 82,000-dwt delivery China.


The Supramax market has been in a buoyant mood, with the S10TC average gaining 922 over the week to settle at 14,502. It was a quiet start in the Atlantic, but it picked up as the week progressed. Gains were modest with the market described as positional. By the close, more cargoes were coming into the market which lent some confidence. There is healthy demand from the South Atlantic with the tonnage list getting shorter. A 64,000-dwt vessel reported for a USG fronthaul at US$20,000pd. A Supramax, meanwhile, was rumoured to have fixed for Brazil to Turkey with grains at US$22,000pd.

The Pacific was busy from the start, with healthy coal demand from Indonesia and backhaul cargoes driving the market. This, combined with rising NoPac and Australian round voyage rates, saw sentiment improve as the week progressed. Owners have been unwilling to discount given the stable cargo levels. A 56,000-dwt reported for an Indonesia to China voyage was fixed at US$20,000 delivery Singapore. Meanwhile, a 63,000-dwt open Indonesia for a trip to China was at similar levels. An Ultramax was fixed ex-yard for a Nopac round voyage at US$17,000pd.


Positivity continued this week. The US Gulf was active with a 40,000-dwt fixing from SW Pass to Morocco with an intended cargo of grains at US$15,000, whilst a 38,000-dwt was rumoured to have fixed from Mexico via Florida to the UK in the region of US$12,000. In East Coast South America a 37,000-dwt fixed from Santos to Morocco at US$16,000. A 37,000-dwt was fixed from Recalada to West Coast South America at US$22,000. In the Mediterranean, a 40,000-dwt fixed passing Canakkale via the Black Sea to the US Gulf with an intended cargo of cement at US$16,000. Period was active with a 40,000-dwt fixing ex-yard in Japan for 11 to 14 Months with mid April dates at US$16,000. A 38,000-dwt open Continent was rumoured to have fixed for three to five months with Atlantic redelivery at US$13,500. A 36,000-dwt open in Algeria was fixed for four to six months at US$15,000 with worldwide redelivery.


In the Middle East Gulf this week freight levels have suffered as enquiry seemingly dropped off. TC1 is currently marked at WS182.5 (-14.06) and WS180 is reported on subjects. Similarly, for a run West on TC20, the index has come off US$42,859 to US$4,728,571. Much like their larger counterparts the LR1s have felt weakening sentiments this week but not to the same extent. TC5 dipped a meagre 1.08 points to WS195.71 and TC8 similarly shed US$66,000 from US$3,825,000 to US$3,758,000.

AG MRs have been somewhat unsettled. The TC17 index fluctuated up and down — ranging between WS217 and WS232 — where it topped out and is currently marked at WS228.57.

West of Suez, LRs have improved off the back off some activity. TC15 jumped up to US$4,250,000 and has since resettled back to US$4,150,000, which is still a US$216,667 improvement. TC16 has risen an incremental five points to WS182.14 where it looks to have plateaued for the moment.

Rates have surged circa 35% this week on the UK-Continent MRs. TC2 has jumped up to WS270.56 (+72.78) with a couple of vessels reported on subs at WS270 at the time of writing. Similarly, TC19 has hopped up 73.57 points to WS280.

European Handymax freight has rebounded this week with TC23 adding 85 points to WS258.56 and TC6 likewise climbing 80.62 points to WS333.75.

The American MR market had another week of big movement. But sadly for owners it was in a downward direction. TC14 has had 57.5 points cut away, dropping the index from WS166.67 to WS109.17 with reports of WS105 currently on subjects. TC18 similarly lost 91.66 points to WS181.67 after a widely reported charter at WS182.5 on Wednesday. A run to the Caribbean on TC21 has followed suit and is currently pegged at US$675,000 (-US$412,500).


The VLCC market eased slightly in most areas this week. For the 270,000mt Middle East Gulf to China voyage the rate fell six points early in the week and then recovered about three points by Thursday to W93.77, which shows a daily round voyage TCE of US$89,100 (about US$1,000 less than a week ago) basis the Baltic Exchange’s vessel description. The rate for 280,000mt Middle East Gulf to the US Gulf (via the cape/cape routing) is assessed 1.5 points lower at WS60.28. In the Atlantic market, the rate for 260,000mt West Africa/China also lost a net three points to WS90.50, showing a round-trip TCE of US$84,700 per day. The rate for 270,000mt US Gulf/China rose a steady US$122,000 at US$11,472,000 (US$64,900 per day round-trip TCE).


The rate for 135,000mt CPC/Augusta regained most of the recent lost ground, rising three points to WS169 (a round-trip TCE of US$91,300 per day). In the Atlantic, a busy programme in West Africa and the US Gulf has seen tonnage thin out and rates improve with the market still trending upward. For the 130,000mt Nigeria/Rotterdam voyage the rate climbed 13 points to WS128/129 level (US$59,400 daily TCE basis a round-trip). In the Middle East the rate for 140,000mt Basrah/Lavera rose 6.5 points to just over WS71.


In the North Sea market, the rate for the 80,000mt Hound Point/Wilhelmshaven route slipped 1.5 points to WS169 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$70,300). In the Mediterranean, the rate for 80,000mt Ceyhan/Lavera rebounded and climbed 22.5 points to WS198 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$70,600). Across the Atlantic, the Stateside Aframax market reversed the recent trend and rates rose. The rate for 70,000mt East Coast Mexico/US Gulf gained more than 18.5 points to between WS390-392.5 (US$149,800 per day round-trip TCE). The rate for 70,000mt Covenas/US Gulf climbed 20 points to the mid-point of WS360-362.5 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$125,300). For the Transatlantic route of 70,000mt US Gulf/Rotterdam, the rate regained 26 points to WS258 (showing a round trip TCE of US$78,600 per day).


The pacific basin remains healthy despite a slight drop in spot rates over the week. Enquiry remains, although the focus — as ever — remains on shorter period business. Up to one-year deals are being worked quite extensively and the spot rates remain flat. The route over the

week shed just over US$3,000 to close at US$73,803 for BLNG1g Aus-Japan. The tonnage list out east does look tighter. Those who have enquiry up until end April-early May are going to struggle with ships offering in. This will do little to stimmy rates, but similarly will keep rates from falling much further.

In the Atlantic the routes faced a slightly more bearish outlook, losing a little more than the BLNG1g — but only just. Tonnage in the US is much healthier and with an extended tonnage list versus little requirement there could be tough times ahead for the spot rates. However, it is hard to verify if rates can or will drop further. There currently aren’t enough fixtures to get a feeling from owners of what rates they would be willing to accept. Further exports from the restarted Freeport terminal have helped, but tonnage is for the most part set aside to cover program and contractual business. This has done little to change the available vessels. As we finish the week, BLNG2g US-UK closes at US$53,697 — a fall of US$3,405 throughout the week. BLNG3g US-Japan finishes at US$60,571, a fall of US$5,373. Period fell slightly but not through lack of interest. There are just more vessels able to work on shorter-term contracts at the moment and as a result period assessments have fallen ever so slightly. Our current estimations for a 174k 2-Stroke vessel with 0.085% boil off and delivery one month ahead: US$187,000 for 12 months, and US$151,500 for three years.


Ras Tanura-Chiba saw little movement this week with rates hovering around the close at US$96.283 (which gives a TCE Equivalent of US$83,097 per day round trip). The fixing window is already in the first decade of April, but tonnage up until this point remains relatively healthy. Sentiment is slightly muted with possible reductions of cargoes from a few major charterers. At the end of the week there was contrasting reports of ships fixed for both US$90 and US$107 on the same routes. But with some replacement issues reported this could be explained away as just cover. The market as a whole remains steady.

In the Atlantic, both BLPG2 and BLPG3 rose. But with fixing windows out as far as the last decade April rates are expected to remain flat. A charterer took a ship for both East and West options off 19-20 April at US$149 and US$84 slightly above final index rates. However, with the arb currently showing no signs of life expectations are that the routes will be reflected well with the index published rates. The week finished with a Houston-Flushing run at US$81.80 (a rise of US$1.40 over the week), while Houston-Chiba finished at US$145.714 (a rise of US$1.285 on the week).

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Source: TheEdge - 21 Mar 2023

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