THE BALTIC Dry Index ended on 602 on Friday (10 February), down from 621 a week earlier. The sharp decline that started in late December appears to be softening.

The Baltic Dry Index for the week ending 10 February, 2023. Source: Baltic Exchange


It has been a relatively quiet week, with a mild degree of adjustments from both basins. The average of the 5 Capesize timecharter routes eventually broke the US$4,000 threshold on the last day of the week, pricing at US$4,033, which is about a 15 per cent rise compared with last Friday. The Brazil to China voyage trade started the week at US$16 and remained in the US$16s throughout the week. The West Australia to Qingdao iron ore trade was reportedly done in the low US$6s but the overall activity was rather muted. In the Atlantic, there was limited support for both Transatlantic and fronthaul trips. On the period front, there was talk of three Newcastlemax types fixing all with delivery in the Pacific mid/second half of February. However, the rates were not disclosed.


Despite healthy activity, the Panamax sector continued on its turbulent path this week. There was talk of a floor being reached in both basins, which could be argued is premature. However, we do end the week with rates mostly broadside. The Atlantic witnessed marginally better volume but it was still limited chiefly to South America where a steady flow ensued. Rates for March arrivals on the fronthaul trips via East Coast South America were contained to the US$13,000s, plus US$300,000s delivery APS load port. A stable end to the week in Asia for the shorter Indonesia trades with healthy activity. The longer NoPac and Australia round trips were sparse against tonnage count – although some premium rates did emerge for specific trades. We end the week in need of a fresh injection if we are to see any sustainable improvements. Period news included a newbuilding delivery ex yard China achieving US$15,000 for 12 months period.


A lethargic week overall for the sector with prompt tonnage availability outstripping demand in most areas. The effect has been that rates struggled as Charterers remained firmly in the driving seat. However, as the week closed, some felt that a bottom may have been reached with more enquiry on the horizon. There was period interest, but brokers commented there remained a big gap between Owners and Charterers expectations. The Atlantic overall remained negative. A 61,000-dwt fixing a trip from the US Gulf to the Mediterranean at US$9,000. Further south, from East Coast South America, a 55,000-dwt fixed a trip to China at US$11,000 plus US$100,000 ballast bonus. For Transatlantic runs, another 55,000-dwt fixed delivery Recalada redelivery Italy at US$10,000. It was a similar story in the Asian arena, a 63,000-dwt open Philippines fixing a trip via Indonesia to China at US$8,000. Elsewhere, a 63,000-dwt was heard fixed from India to China at US$7,000.


Split sentiment over the course of the week, as the Atlantic was largely negative whilst Asia more positive. East Coast South America remained under pressure and a 35,000-dwt was heard to have been fixed from Recalada to Brazil at US$10,000, whilst a 34,000-dwt fixed from Aratu to Constanza at US$8,000. In the Mediterranean, a 37,000-dwt was rumoured to have been fixed from Egypt to West Africa at US$9,500. The US Gulf lacked impetus as some Owners decided to ballast away from the region to secure employment. From Asia, brokers saw more period interest with Charterers expressing a preference in longer duration. A 37,000-dwt newbuilding linked to a year’s period basis delivery in Japan at 115% of the BHSI and a 38,000-dwt open in Hong Kong fixed for 12 to 14 months at US$14,000. A 28,000-dwt open in China was fixed for four to six months at around US$9,000.


The Clean Product tanker market has seen improvements on all sectors and sizes this week, highlighted by the BCTI climbing from 629 to 822.

In the Middle East Gulf, available tonnage has been quickly snapped up and owners’ sentiment has been appropriately firmer. TC1 has come up 26.62 points to WS123.5 and a TC20 run west has gained US$560,000 to US$3,610,000. LR1s have been similarly better with TC5 (55,000t MEG/Japan) settling at WS142.5 (+13.21) by the end of the week. On a voyage to the UK-Continent (TC8) has hopped up US$383,000, sailing over the US$3,000,000 mark to US$3,250,000. MRs have been the greatest improvers of the region this week with TC17 jumping up 92.85 points to WS327.14 and a round trip TCE of US$41,126 per day.

West of Suez, LRs have also begun to climb. TC15 has risen to the tune of US$347,500 to US$2,737,500. This is still a negative TCE round-trip earning, but is heading in the right direction and into the negative hundreds rather than thousands. After trawling along at WS130 for a couple of weeks the LR1s of TC16 also saw a welcome boost and the index currently sits at WS155.

In the UK-Continent, MRs have flourished with TC2 and TC19 both climbing around 150 points to WS289.44 and WS298.57 respectively. Similarly, on the Handymax TC23 (30,0000t Cross UK-Continent) has climbed off the WS130s floor it had been sat on and gained 26.87 points to WS161.25.

In the Mediterranean, TC6 rose firmly back over the WS200 mark to WS214.38 taking the round trip TCE back over the US$30,000 per day.

In the Americas, strong sentiment has caused a surge in MR rates. TC14 gained 56.67 points to WS127.5 and TC18 improved 78.33 points to WS205.83. Meanwhile, a TC21 run to the Caribbean ended up at US$775,000 (+US$373,333).


The VLCC market had a more positive outcome this week with rates (and earnings) rising across the board. For the 270,000mt Middle East Gulf to China voyage, the rate rose by 3.5 points (6-7%) to WS53 which shows a daily round-voyage TCE of US$26,500 basis the Baltic Exchange’s vessel description. The rate for 280,000mt Middle East Gulf to US Gulf (via the cape/cape routing) is assessed two points higher at WS37.

In the Atlantic markets, the rate for 260,000mt West Africa/China improved by nine points (16-17%) to WS59 showing a round-trip TCE of US$34,600 per day. The rate for 270,000mt US Gulf/China climbed US$905,000 (about 12%) to just over US$8.416 million (US$30,300 per day round trip TCE).


The rate for 135,000mt CPC/Augusta dropped by 3.5 points this week to just below WS162 (a round-trip TCE of US$81,400 per day). In West Africa, for the 130,000mt Nigeria/Rotterdam voyage, rates remained steady at between WS110-112.5 (a daily-round trip TCE of about US$43,200 per day). In the Middle East, the rate for 140,000mt Basrah/Lavera also remained flat at between WS55-56.


In the North Sea market, rates for the 80,000mt Hound Point/Wilhelmshaven route had a 2.5 point trim to WS163 (a round-trip daily TCE of US$56,700). In the Mediterranean, the rate for 80,000mt Ceyhan/Lavera lost another 10 points to WS187.5 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$61,200). Across the Atlantic, the Stateside Aframax market seems poised. The rate for 70,000mt East Coast Mexico/US Gulf improved by four points to the WS168-169 region (about US$42,000 per day round-trip TCE). The rate for 70,000mt Covenas/US Gulf rose by three points to a little over WS160 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$36,100). For the Transatlantic route of 70,000mt US Gulf/Rotterdam, rates continued upwards, rising five points to between WS180-182.5 (showing a round-trip TCE of US$44,800 per day). 


There has been movement this week on spot LNG with some fixtures reported. However, these aren’t quite in line with the Baltic Routes as they have tended to be shorter intra-basin fixtures. One reportedly crossed the Mediterranean from Egypt, at quite low numbers, earlier in the week.

Despite an upturn in physical spot fixtures, rates have remained quite steady and flat. All three routes saw minimal movement and as little as US$657 change throughout the course of the week on BLNG3g. Sentiment is flat on the back of several weeks of barely any spot interest. Owners and brokers alike are taking stock and looking to see where the market could rise, rather than where it could fall. It seems to have hit the low end of owners’ rate acceptances. With a positive outlook expecting a rise, we close the week at US$65,687 for BLNG1g Australia-Japan, US$54,062 BLNG2g USG-Cont, and US$65,589 BLNG3g USG-Japan.

Period remains of interest to market participants. But with the vast majority of tonnage cleared out for multi-year deals already, the availability of ships that are seen tend to be relets. This of course does mean there are certain caveats to be agreed which could affect discussions.

Current estimations for a 174,000t 2-Stroke vessel with 0.085% boil off and delivery one month ahead: US$176,250 for 12 months, and US$165,00 for three years.


A rather flat week for BLPG1 with rates keeping quite steady. Only US$1.143 was lost over the week to close at US$90.286. There is still some uncertainty over the maintenance and how much affect it will have on the output. But with a vessel fixed off of mid-March dates at US$92, and expectations Ras Tanura will be back up to pre-maintenance levels shortly, there could be a turnaround in the direction of the BLPG1. The West market has been slowly shaving dollars throughout the week but ending up only US$3.4 and US$4 down on BLPG2, and BLPG3 respectively, it hasn’t been huge movements. There have been several fixtures done, but sentiment hasn’t really shifted rates in either direction. Although we saw a ship fixed at US$142 for BLPG3 in the week off of mid-March dates, agreement has pegged both markets softer. BLPG2 closes at US$78.4 and BLPG3 at US$138.