Freight rates in the Azov region are remaining at the previous week’s level. On average, the freight totals 40- 41$ per tonne, on the RST – TBS basis. As supposed by market participants, the slowed-down pace of the freight rates’ falling can be attributed to the increased Turkish demand for feed stuff amid the decline in demand for wheat, which has balanced out the market for the time being. Forecasts of Owners and Charterers for the nearest future diverge. The former believe that freight rates must go up due to the worsening in ice conditions, while the latter expect freight rates to go down as a result of the waning demand for grains.
As a consequence of bad weather in the Black and Azov Seas, many vessels have been delayed for next voyages, and for the present have accumulated in the Kerch Straight area. Since most late arriving vessels were fixed several weeks ago at high rates, Charterers are cancelling a lot of voyages and looking for alternatives at the moment, while the market is at a low ebb.
As for mid-December, Ship Owners are seeking short voyages, but their preferences are expected to change dramatically roughly from the 20th of December: all Ship Owners will want to take a long voyage in order to avoid extended idle times during the New Year celebration.
Owing to favorable weather conditions, the imposition of ice restrictions in the Azov region is moved up to December, 25, therefore river navigation before the locks still goes on. Vessels freely load in Bagaevka, and on the Caspian side – up to Volgograd. As rumors have it, navigation can be extended until the year end.
Transshipment of grains and not-grain cargoes (coal) on OPL has been activated. Some foreign-flagged fleet Owners continue to make transshipments on OPL, despite last-year repressions by PSC. If the situation does not change, next year demand on the Russian flag can decline. So far, Russian-flagged vessels keep on transporting cargoes to Caucasus, and demand for them does not seem to decrease.