Under the current market circumstances in the Azov region, some Charterers are trying to base their work on available tonnage. Such companies quickly confirm conditions, without much haggling over details, and take a vessel on SUBs. After that they start to search for a seller and a buyer for the voyage. In majority of cases, the deal falls through, however they create a bubble by these actions, unconsciously pushing the market up. Owners that have received confirmations to their ideas already reluctantly come down on the freight rate.
As practice shows, last two weeks the Azov Sea has been totally lacking spot tonnage. This fact can be explained by market growth: delayed vessels mostly receive extensions, since they were fixed 2-3$ cheaper than the market rates. The Charterers working in the region and monitoring the situation, enthusiastically negotiate any dates offered by Ship Owners, therefore freight rates still have a tendency to grow.
The ice situation in the Azov region remains moderate for this time of the year. There is no problem of passing to berths or awaiting ice-breaker assistance for long. Despite this, only a few Ship Owners decide on loading in Rostov AB – mainly those who arrived for discharge with return loads.
The market of forage grain is showing some degree of activeness. Charterers are requesting indications for sugar beet pulp, wheat bran and grain husks from the Azov region to Europe – Adriatic or Spain. Voyages in that direction probably will soon become more frequent, which will drive the market upward. At the present stage, we can observe vivid, but not firm interest from Charterers’ side.
In Astrakhan, though, weather conditions leave much to be desired. Ship Owners are not willing to consider loading in terminals distant from the main waters, such as Yug-terminal or Streletskoye. Tight ice restrictions there make Owners engage additional tugs/ice-breakers to ensure them safe navigation.
In the Caspian region, however unusual for this time of the year, tonnage supply and cargo demand are balanced out. As shown by practice, the Charterers that managed to contract vessels in the end of navigation are better off now. Spot tonnage for an Astrakhan-Iran voyage still trades at around 45 $ per tonne.