10 week: Russian River, Azov/Black Sea, Caspian; Coaster shipments
Freight level in the Azov region on 10th week showed a decline due to prolonged March holidays. Nowadays, the freight is 36 $ per tonne basis voyages ex Rostov to Marmara with wheat, a dollar is less than at 9th week. The low business activity of the most market participants and a small amount of actual fixtures are preparing the ground for a potential resumption of market growth in the post-holiday weeks.
The cancellation of ice restrictions in Rostov/Azov is at hand. Supposedly, the removal of the ice campaign will occur at the end of 11 weeks. Owners of non-ice classed fleet are now keen on concluding contracts for the end of March, even at below-market rates. As a result of such actions the average workable rates level in Azov basin will be lower until the river navigation opening.
On the other side, voyages with barley have sharply increased freight-wise, which is explained by the fact that the period of import barley to Turkey is approaching to the end (Zero tax until 1 April) and arrival dates play a decisive role for receivers. Therefore, Charterers dealing with barley are ready to overpay for tonnage, which able to arrive at loading port until 20 March in order to guarantee on-time delivery.
Soonest start of navigation encourage Owners of tonnage with the Russian flag to engage in preliminary river contracts search. It is possible that with the start of navigation substantial amount of transit general cargo orders from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea (and vice-versa) will emerge on the market. It is also expected that there will be more project transfers from the Mediterranean Sea to the middle Volga in the navigational period this year, which will help local Exporters to avoid payments for the ballast leg to Samara.
Previous week has seen a severe rates drop in Caspian area. Rates declined on about 3 usd pmt bss voyage with wheat ex Astrakhan. Reason cited are prolonged Russian holidays coupled with upcoming Iranian Novruz. Russian Traders will continue evading new contracts likely till the end of Iranian holidays. The only possible driver for the market to grow is highly anticipated possible removal of Iranian wheat ban is being actively discussed.