THE BALTIC Dry Index continued its tumble last week, hitting on Friday the lowest point in more than a year. The index on Friday (13 January) was 946. This was a decline of 45% from the recent peak of 1723 on 21 December.

The Baltic Dry Index for the week ending 13 January, 2023. Source: Baltic Exchange


The Capesize market had a positive opening on Monday followed by consecutive declines on the timecharter routes. The Cape5TC fell over US$2000 this week, settling a tick above the US$10,000 threshold on Friday.

A few period fixtures were reported, including a 171,000-dwt 2013-built vessel open Caofeidian last week fixing for about six to eight months at 85% of the C5TC. A 180,000mt 2006-built open Zhoushan on 1 January was fixed for about four to six months at US$10,500 per day and was then relet for loading 170,000mt 10% iron ore from Saldanha Bay in early February to Qingdao at US$11.75 per metric ton.

The Brazil to Qingdao trade closed the week at US$17.708, whilst in the Pacific the west Australia to Qingdao trade was priced between US$6.99 to US$7.18 throughout the week.


It proved to be another week of further considerable losses for the Panamax market, retracting back to values witnessed in August 2022. With countless ballasting and spot tonnage unfixed, resistance from owners was scarce as tonnage far outweighed demand.

This resulted in charterers driving down bids – especially in the North Atlantic region. Here rates reduced close to US$3,000 week-on-week on route P1A with little sign of abating. Several East Coast South America trips to Singapore-Japan reported fixed for first half February arrival dates with slightly better bids seen on Thursday, but this looked short lived for now.

Asia fared no better despite reasonable Indonesian coal demand and a fair level of Australia coal enquiry. With seemingly strong confidence for the rest of 2023, relatively solid period interest again with rates still at a premium to spot.

Several deals concluded including an 82,000-dwt delivery China achieving US$16,500 for 12 months employment.


The malaise continued across the board with limited fresh enquiry in most regions combined with an abundance of prompt tonnage keeping downward pressure on rates. Some brokers commented that with the Lunar New Year festivities coming at the end of next week this trend was set to continue.

Limited period activity surfaced as Charterers sort opportunities; a 61,000-dwt open West Africa was heard fixed for six to nine months worldwide trading at US$13,000. Also, an Ultramax open in China was heard to have failed at US$12,000 for four to six months trading.

In the Atlantic, pressure remained from the US Gulf and a 58,000-dwt fixed a trip to Italy with petcoke at US$12,750. From the Continent-Mediterranean it was a similar story despite a steady flow of cargo. A 57,000-dwt fixed from East Mediterranean to West Africa at US$10,000.

Little joy from Asia and a 58,000-dwt open North China was heard fixed at US$3,500 for a trip to the Arabian Gulf. Further south, there was limited enquiry from Indonesia and a 57,000-dwt open Hong Kong fixed a trip via Indonesia to South China at US$3,750.


With limited enquiry across all regions, we have seen the erosion of rates continue.

In East Cost South America, pressure remained from the larger sizes and a 38,000-dwt fixed from Rio De Janeiro to Japan at US$15,000. A 35,000-dwt fixed delivery Recalada to the Continent at US$11,500 and a 34,000-dwt fixed from Morocco via Paramaribo to India at US$9,700.

In the Mediterranean, a 36,000-dwt fixed basis delivery passing Çanakkale via the Black Sea with redelivery in Algeria and an intended cargo of grains at US$8000.

In the US Gulf, a 38,000-dwt fixed from Jamaica to Iceland with an intended cargo of Alumina at US$14,000. Tonnage in South East Asia has seen levels soften with a 38,000-dwt fixing from Singapore via Western Australia to Japan with an intended cargo of grains at US$8,000. Meanwhile, a 40,000-dwt logger type was rumoured to have been fixed for two laden Legs from Samalaju at US$12,750.


The CPP tanker market remained mostly under pressure this week and this was reflected in the BCTI dropping by 18.5% to 870.

In the Middle East Gulf, LR fixtures have begun to emerge as the week went on and a widely reported TC1 voyage (75kt MEG/Japan) at WS180 has led the index to WS178.13 (-53.31) level at time of writing. On a voyage West TC20 has also lost US$1,214,000 to US$4,342,857. Much like their larger sisters the LR1s have been continually marked down this week with TC5 losing 65.85 points to WS217.86 and TC8 shedding US$1,366,000 to US$3,716,700.

By comparison MRs look to be improving in the region. This was after a big injection of enquiry with TC17 bottoming out in the mid WS220s mid-week and now back up to around the WS240 level.

West of Suez, LR Freight – much like the Middle East – have come off this week. TC16 is currently resting at WS200.71 (-37.15) and TC15 is pegged at US$4,008,333 after dropping US$870,834.

In North west Europe, MRs have seen decent activity. However, the excess tonnage overshadowed this. Rates have slipped again with TC2 dipping 15.55 points to WS178.89 and TC19 ending up at WS192.86 (-18.57).

Handymax vessels have similarly been subject to downward pressure with TC6 forfeiting 33.75 points and a widely reported Cross Mediterranean run at WS180. It’s no surprise this is where the index currently sits. On the UK-Continent TC23 has taken a 22% hit this week dropping 55.63 points to WS193.75.

Much like Europe, the US Gulf MRs have come down significantly again with TC14 dropping below WS100 level (WS91.67 at present) for the first time since February 2022. TC18 came off a similar 15% this week to WS152.08 and a TC21 run to the Caribbean went sub US$500,000 (US$480,000 at time of writing).


The VLCC market continued to trend downwards this week. 270,000mt Middle East Gulf to China has dropped another eight points to WS44.68, which translates into a round voyage TCE of US$18,500 basis the Baltic Exchange’s vessel description. Meanwhile, 280,000mt Middle East Gulf to US Gulf (via the cape/cape routing) is now assessed 3.5 points lower at WS35.

In the Atlantic markets, the rate for 260,000mt West Africa/China fell six points to just below WS48 (a round trip TCE of about US$23,500 per day) and 270,000mt US Gulf/China fell by a comparatively modest US$54,000 to around the US$8.38 million mark (US$33,700 per day round trip TCE).


The Suezmax market bounced back this week across all regions. Rates for 135,000mt CPC/Augusta climbed 31 points to WS200 (a round-trip TCE of US$114,400 per day). For the 130,000mt Nigeria/Rotterdam voyage, rates rose 26.5 points to WS116.5 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$48,600) and the 140,000mt Basra/Lavera market clawed back 2.5 points to just shy of WS74.


In the North Sea market, rates for the 80,000mt Hound Point/Wilhelmshaven route fell nine points to a fraction below WS160 (a round-trip daily TCE of US$57,100). In the Mediterranean, the rate for 80,000mt Ceyhan/Lavera has rocketed 56 points to almost WS240 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$91,100).

Across the Atlantic, the Stateside Aframax market has rebounded again, with the rate for 70,000mt East Coast Mexico/US Gulf recovering recent losses, improving by 55 points to WS195 (about US$55,100 per day round-trip TCE). The 70,000mt Covenas/US Gulf market also saw rates recover, gaining 50 points to almost WS180 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$44,800). For the longer-haul 70,000mt US Gulf/Rotterdam voyage, rates ascended a meagre five points to about WS166.5 (showing a round trip TCE of about US$40,000 per day).


LNG continues its fall this week with all three routes showing drops on spot assessments. A continued mild winter, and higher inventory supplies in Asia, suggests that the potential for a surge in demand due to the new Lunar New Year is not guaranteed. That is not to say that there haven’t been fixtures. However, rates and vessel availability do have bearish overtones with relet tonnage being pushed out with particulars. That makes them less accessible than a position list may first suggest.

The BLNG1g route Aus-Japan fell by US$23,728 per day to publish just over six digits at US$106,051. While greater daily loses were felt in the Atlantic, where BLNG2g and BLNG3g fell by US$34,861 and US$29,365 respectively, this pushed the run from Houston-Isle Of Grain below US$100k for the first time since September 2022 to US$85,299. At the time of writing on BLNG3g Houston-Japan, we remain just over US$100k per day with a daily rate of US$103,421. Nevertheless, the directional movement of the market suggest this will be broken next week.

Period remains firm with enquiries working for multi-month/year deals beginning in 2024. For 2023 there is less availability of ships with so many fixed off previously, but opportunities can arise. Current estimations for a 174k 2-Stroke vessel with 0.085% boil off and delivery one month ahead: US$180,250 for 12 months, and US$168,250 for three years.


In the east it has been mixed, rates have risen over US$4 from the start of the week to close at US$82.286 – but there is still uncertainty. With some Chinese counterparties coming out in the early part of the week it created belief of extra demand, which bolstered the ARB. But when these didn’t come to fruition on the last publication day there was a slight correction down from the week high of US$83. When it comes to actual fixing there has been less to discuss with some vessels being fixed around the US$83-US$84 region, but the year hasn’t been flushed with firm enquiry.

BLPG2 and BLPG3 have been more active with more fixtures concluded already for the month of Feb. However, there is rising concern that there is not enough product for ships to be adequately absorbed. Rates did rise throughout the week but dipped at the end to close at US$74.2 for a Houston-Flushing and US$127.857 for Houston-Chiba. There are ships available and rates have fallen, but that hasn’t meant that the first half of February has been void of fixing, one vessel was reportedly fixed for Houston-Chiba for mid Feb at US$133.