Despite of the expectations of Ship Owners, freight in Azov basin remain on the level of 4th week. The average rates for voyage with wheat basis Rostov-Marmara route amount to 32 $ per tonne. Such situation on the market developed the «wait-and-see» attitude among Ship Owners who engaged in firm negotiations only in front of desirable freight, otherwise trying to determine market movements for next few weeks.
The ongoing lack of volatility on the Azov’s market is relying heavily on previously contracted consecutive voyages, which most first-class Charterers managed to conclude even on mid-January dates. Bearing in mind substantially lower freight level of that period, reduced demand for additional tonnage from the major market participants is obvious for the time being.
Soon, however, the situation may change towards the improvement of workable freight rates level. According to the forecast, on the 6th week in the Azov region is expected deterioration of weather conditions such as loads of snow with rain, frosts and intense squally wind. Port agents assume the possibility formation of large ice hummocks, which could cause substantial difficulties in navigation in the Azov’s basin. In this regard Ship Owners are very reluctantly considering calls to Rostov/Azov, shifting their preferences of fleet employment on the voyages ex-other safer ports.
Thus, if a severe ice situation develops in the region, the necessity for ice-class tonnage shall grow, subsequently affecting rates for the ice-classed vessels. The fleet which is not ready to work in such weighty circumstances will be repositioned on the voyages ex ice-free ports of the Black Sea, which shall weaken fleet supply in Azov area.
In the Caspian region adverse weather conditions also make impact on the freight market. Presently, on the roads of Astrakhan, especially along the east coast, fast ice has already been recorded with a thickness up to 0.4 meters followed by drift ice.
Such an ice situation in the port of Astrakhan results in freight cost going up. This has to do with the need to employ ice-breakers, reflecting largely on the cost of freight. The inroads to Solyanka Port are not obstructed by ice masses, but Charterers try not to complete loadings farther upriver of the port. This affects distant terminals, where Charterers have to offer higher rates to make the deal interesting for Ship Owners.
During the 5th week, the average freight rate wheat basis Astrakhan – Iran gained 2$ per tonne and had amounted 46 $ per tonne.