The business activity in the Azov-Black and Caspian regions is still low. This is due to the following factors:
– continued stagnation of the Turkish grain market;
– exhaustion of cargo stocks of domestic producers;
– low grain season;
However, despite the slack, freight rates in the Azov Sea were moving up during last two weeks.
This situation on the market could be explained by the fact that some Ship Owners didn’t have regular employment in this area, and relocated their fleet for jobs from the Black and Mediterranean Seas ports. And now the great part of the Azov tonnage makes long voyages to North Africa, Spain, Israel and Lebanon. By reason of insufficient tonnage supply, Charterers were faced with a difficulty to find the suitable vessel for spot shipments.
In addition, local producers reported the drought in the winter grains areas in the Azov (in the South of the Rostov region, the East of the Volgograd region, the North of the Krasnodar region and in the East of the Stavropol area). Several Traders assume that the situation on the grain market which was 2 years ago can happen again: rates during the high season kept a constant level about USD 20 pmt for voyage ex Rostov to Marmara.
According to the information of Turkish Traders, it is expected that the grain harvest figures in Republic will be less satisfying than previous time. This offers prospects of high demand for Russian and Ukrainian grain, which will be beneficial to the freight market in the Azov-Black Sea region. Meanwhile, the Turkish Importers are compelled to postpone the concluding new contracts owing to bad economic climate in the country. Thus, workable freight level for voyage ex Rostov to Marmara reached USD 19 pmt on week 23.
The majority of Traders in the Caspian region have already finalized their grain programs. In this context, lesser Astrakhan Exporters became more active and much-in-demand on the market. At the same time, the Ship Owners risks are increasing due to the doubtful reputation of the local Charterers, who are the main Cargo Shippers in the region nowadays. The freight basis of the Astrakhan – Iran added USD 1 compared to week 22, and amounted USD 31 pmt.