As it usually happens, with the coming of the autumn the weather factor has begun to make significant adjustments in the plans of Charterers and Ship Owner. During the last week, the eastern wind in the Azov region was keeping the water level at -1,5 to 0-meter marks (in Azov/Rostov at about 2,9 m), which practically paralyzed work in the ports. A line of 20 ships waiting for a water level which would allow for the safe and smooth loading and beginning of their voyages has accumulated on the outward roads of Azov Port.
The water level in Yeisk is 3,4 to 3,7 meters now. It allows to load and set sail vessels with the carrying capacity up to 3000 metric tons. Large-sized vessels, that have not managed to load in time in high water, have to idle in their berths now, in the hope for a rise of the water level. In a similar way, a line of about 10-15 vessels has shaped on the outward roads of the port of Yeisk. In such conditions, the most demanded vessel type proves to be Omskiy, with the draught of 3,26 m. This allows Ship Owners to pump up the rates for it particularly. The limitation draught in Temryuk is staying at the same level as earlier – 4,6 m, therefore a lot of Ship Owners will have to change their minds in favor of this port. As a result, freight rates in Temryuk and other more or less deep-water ports must decrease soon.
The offshore eastern wind is expected to be prevailing in the region up until October 5. As long as the wind direction does not change, there will be no hope for the betterment of the draught limitation in Azov ports.
In market participants’ opinion, such delays most seriously affect major exporters performing their grain transshipment programs at Caucasian anchorage stations, as such events disrupt the regularity of voyages and, as a result, can lead to the idleness of the heavy-tonnage fleet.
The consequences of the water level decrease could have been less grave, but part of the fleet on the way to their loading points got stuck in the Black Sea, due to the storm continuing for the most part of the week. That is one of the reasons why the market did not face a wave of cancellings or a drastic hike of freight rates.
In the Caspian region, the shipping market is retaining its bias favoring Ship Owners. The main trend of the end of October is the rumors about the withdrawal of a substantial amount of the fleet from the region for wintering in the Azov and Black Seas. According to information received from the port of Astrakhan, Caspian fleet last winter was almost 1,5-times larger in number than in the same period a year before. For more, the cargoes transported practically did not include wheat, subjected to an embargo.
Taking into account these factors, market players are more closely monitoring the number of fleet this year. By preliminary estimates, the amount of cargo in the region is expected to be bigger, yet not significantly, this year than a year before, and the amount of fleet smaller. A more definite forecast will be possible closer to the end of the navigation period.