Expecting the introduction of ice restrictions (at week 48) in the Azov basin, the decline of freight market has stopped. Moreover, rates had risen by USD 2 for all destinations of Black and Mediterranean Sea. Market participants attribute this factor to a small amount of ships working from the Azov Basin during the period of ice restrictions. As practice shows, the number of such tonnage decreases every year, as a result, the rates for the “rare” tonnage with the ice class has grown. In addition, the freight is increasing due to Turkish Importers. According to the Grain Traders, the Turkish side had bought fewer than half of the volume of last year during current grain season. Therefore, the increase of rates is possible due to the large number of contracts with Turkish Traders in the near future.
Charterers from ice free ports took a “wait-and-see” position. As soon as the restrictions come into force on week 48 the rates for voyages from ice-free ports of the Black Sea region will fall, as the number of vessels fitting for work from there will increase significantly. Resolution about ice restrictions was issued by the captain of the Rostov-on-Don port at the beginning of week 47. Owing to the lowering air temperature and the prospect of ice cover in the water area of ports, the period of icebreaker support of vessels in the port will start on November 26. However nowadays there is no necessity for the help of icebreakers. At the same time, only those vessels that have reserves of fuel, food and water for not less than 14 days are allowed to put into port water area.
Azov Ship Owners are already beginning to plan their positions on New Year’s holidays in order to avoid calling Russian ports during continuous weekend. Therefore, long-distance haul will be in great demand in mid-December and rates for these voyages decline due to an increased tonnage supply.
Experts predict that the available fleet in the Caspian Sea this year will be about 15% more in comparison with last year. And taking into account the small volume of new harvest, Charterers are confident that freight market can collapse in the region in near months. Thus, Traders are reluctant to conclude new contracts on the current high rates. The freight added USD 3 and reached USD 51 pmt of barley basis Astrakhan – Iran on week 47. Charterers see the main reason of such dynamic in fleet shortage on the Caspian basin. By the end of navigation, a lot of Ship Owners tried to take voyages from the river, during that time there was enough cargo in the Astrakhan port, which is now actively exported to Iran.
Due to the lack of tonnage approved for performing of complex fumigation, many Caspian Traders look for other ways to deliver cargo to Iran. Thus, for example, some Exporters charter only those vessels where prophylactic fumigation of grain is possible. Therefore, the first disinfection is carried out at the port of loading, and the subsequent – after discharging in Iran at customs warehouse. Frequently such voyages are more profitable for Charterers, since the Ship Owners of non-grain vessels agree with freight level are lower than average market rates.