Operators of minibulkers and general cargo vessels in the intra-European trades see some light at the end of the tunnel after a slump in freight rates since the earlier part of the year.
“Last week really showed significant improvement in both volume and general activity with owners suddenly seeing more voyage alternatives,” explained Norwegian chartering broker Norbroker Shipping & Trading in its latest market roundup.
Spot cargo fixing in the Baltic Sea region is picking up now as fresh grain and agri-products parcels come up for shipment, it said. 3,000 tonne lots of grains have last been covered at rates in excess of EUR20/tonne from the Baltic States to East Coast UK and at EUR27/tonne for Irish Sea destinations which Norbroker said was a “significant improvement from previous weeks”. Consequently, average daily earnings for 3,500 dwt coasters on typical North Sea/Baltic Sea round voyages are estimated to have risen from EUR2,050 to EUR2,150. Meanwhile, in the Black Sea/Mediterranean region shortsea freights were stagnating overall last week, according to the ISTFIX index published in Istanbul. The market barometer remained unchanged at a relatively low level of 602 points yesterday. A 3,000 t pig iron cargo from Novorossiysk to Tekiordag was reportedly fixed at a stable level of USD13.5/tonne and 3,300 tonnes of coal ex Temryuk to Marmara discussed at USD16-17/tonne, the ISTFIX report said.