On the previous week Azov’s area has been highlighted by appearance of spot tonnage in quite substantial amount. Main reason for it is recent fulfilment of Kavkaz lighterage contracts by several regional Owners. The fact that fleet supply strengthens mislead Traders into attempts to pull the rates downwards, wherein freight growth has been only slowed, as tonnage demand still has the upper hand.
FOB Russian ports grain prices have continued to decline, to which market participants have already accustomed. Deep Sea ports suffer more, as prices drop faster there (approximately 5 usd per week, compared to shallow ports). Nevertheless, Shippers hope for soonest recovery in the light of new tenders by Tunisia, Algeria and Bangladesh, who traditionally buy Russian grains via bigger tonnage. Sea-river fleet Owners are also positive regarding short-term market conditions, considering the latest Turkish tender, which largely won by Charterers, working ex Azov’s ports.
According to market participants, current low grain trading activity caused by low carryover stocks of wheat. Officially, they’ve hit 5-years low numbers, therefore a lot of producers are holding their remaining volumes, troubled by uncertainty of quality and quantity of forthcoming crop.
Caspian trade activity has lowered, owing to Nowruz. Due to lack of cargo orders ex Astrakhan, Owners consider fixing voyages from River ports, which are not in abundance either. Pre-carriage to River elevators is being complicated by usual for this time of the year road drying, so it is expected that leaders in terms of fleet demand upon the beginning of navigation shall be Charterers who failed to ship their full volumes within previous navigation. We expect Dubovka, Volgograd elevator and new elevator in Tatyanka to perform the most river shipments as navigation starts.