9 week: Russian River, Azov / Black Sea, Caspian Trade: Coaster shipments
Freight rates at 9th week in Azov sea have amounted to 37 $ per tonne basis voyage ex Rostov to Marmara with wheat. Rates growth contributed to the restoration of water levels in the ADMC. Last week maximum draught in the channel was 2.5 m, now it has recovered to 3.5 m, which practically corresponds to the regular draft in the ADMC. This provoked a sharp increase in the number of vessel in the ports of discharge, where severe congestions occurred – some ships are being idle to stand for more than a week. This situation exacerbated the problem of shortage of spot tonnages in the region.
The increase in the level of rates could be even more dynamic. But because of the opening dates of the ships, basically – the end of March, and holidays are approaching, Shipowners are not in hurry to conclude new contracts for this time. Probably when business activity recovery on the 11th week after the weekend freight rates in the above mentioned region will take a course in the increase direction.
The weather still doesn’t allow the fleet without ice class to redeploy to the Azov basin from the ice-free areas of the Black Sea. The continuous frosts in the Azov area leaded to the formation of thick ice fields, which don’t recede, so Shipowners are forced to avoid calls to Azov, and choose loading from other ports. Thus, the demand for tonnage with the ice-class remains high. This situation had developed almost immediately after the introduction of ice restrictions in the Azov basin back in the end of January.
Also the ongoing lack of volatility on the Azov’s market is relying on previously contracted consecutive voyages, which most first-class Charterers managed to conclude even on early February dates. But it’s an issue of the day for Exporters who are engaged in seldom spot sales.
The spring floating of ice had begun in Astrakhan. Under the influence of the southeastern winds at the 10th week, it is projected that the water areas will soon be free of ice. The air temperature will warm up to 8 degrees, so tonnage without ice-class will return again to the Caspian region, and the rates take a course to decline. However, the Iranian New Year will be celebrated next week and until early April. Russian Traders are trying to finalize current contracts and avoid new deals before the end of the Iranian vacation to avoid downtime. Nowadays the level of freight remains firm – 47 $ per tonne basis voyage from Astrakhan to Iran with wheat because of heavy ice situation, the shortage of tonnage with ice-class and the approaching Novruz. And, most likely, the freight will stick the current level before the opening of river navigation.