THE BALTIC Dry Index last week saw some fluctuation over the past week, but relative to previous weeks, there was little movement.

The BDI started out on Monday (12 June) at 1056, rose to 1094 on Thursday before settling to 1076 on Friday.

The Baltic Dry Index for the week ending 16 June, 2023. Source: Baltic Exchange


In the Pacific, the week started with a relatively calmer tone compared to the previous week. Despite the presence of all three major players from West Australia to China, enquiry levels remained thin, resulting in a lack of momentum. However, the market managed to maintain support throughout most the week. As the week drew to a close, the Pacific market continued to face sluggish conditions, with minimal activity and limited enquiry. Consequently, rates experienced a slight decrease.

The Atlantic market began the week with minimal activity and subdued conditions. Enquiry levels were low and there was a need for patience to gauge whether the positive sentiment from the previous week would translate into an improved market. In contrast, the North Atlantic witnessed a somewhat varied scenario. Enquiry levels experienced a modest increase, leading to improved fixtures overall. Notably, the fronthaul market saw increased activity, suggesting that owners’ resistance was producing positive results. Although, as the week draws to a close, there is a feeling that current conditions are showing signs of being somewhat overextended or reaching a peak.


The Panamax market returned mostly a flat week but in parts encountered a steady rise following recent weeks of falls. The Atlantic was for the most part grain centric but did witness some trans-Atlantic activity pick up mostly by committed tonnage delivery Aps basis at discounted rates equating to low levels delivery this side. Fronthaul rates typically for early July arrival ex EC South America hovered around the US$15,000 + US$500,000 mark for 82,000-dwt types. In Asia, Indonesia coal demand appeared the main driver for the Pacific this week with plentiful activity. With an improving EC South America market, the south appeared well supported, accordingly rates picked up as the week progressed, a 79,000-dwt delivery South China achieving US$8,000 for an Indonesian round trip redelivery South China, perhaps the highlight with rates increasing. Period activity included an 81,000-dwt fixing 16/18 months, index linked at 110% to the BPI5TC.


Overall, a better week for the sector, although this was mainly led from Asia, which saw better levels of fresh enquiry and a tightening of tonnage availability in most areas. Somewhat of a contrast in the Atlantic, which was rather subdued. Having said that, as the week ended, there was a slight shift in sentiment certainly for the larger Ultramax from South America. Period activity appeared again, with a 60,000-dwt open China fixing four to six months trading at US$8,000 for the first 50 days thereafter US$13,500. In the Atlantic, a 63,000-dwt was heard fixed at US$14,000 plus US$400,000 ballast bonus for a fronthaul delivery South America. Elsewhere, a 55,000-dwt open Iskenderun was fixed for a trip to the US Gulf in the mid US$12,000s. From Asia, stronger numbers were seen a 58,000-dwt open Singapore fixed a trip via Indonesia redelivery China at US$11,000. Further north, a 57,000-dwt fixed a trip from China to the Black Sea at US$7,000.


The ongoing issues with limited fresh enquiry across both basins continued adding further pressure to vessels opening in June. Across the Atlantic numbers continued to fall. A 34,000-dwt was fixed basis delivery in Bourgas for a trip to the Spanish Mediterranean at US$5,500. However, a 36,000-dwt fixed from Greece to the US East Coast at US$9,000. A 36,000-dwt fixed from Poland to West Africa with an intended cargo of grains at US$8,500. The South Atlantic was a similar story with a 35,000-dwt fixed from Itaqui to the Continent-Baltic range at US$10,000 whilst a 38,000-dwt fixed from Rio Grande to West Coast Central America at US$15,000. In Asia, brokers spoke of similar issues and a 33,000-dwt was fixed from Japan to South East Asia at US$6,200 with an intended cargo of slag. A 38,000-dwt opening in Thailand fixed via Australia to Japan with an intended cargo of sugar at US$7,750.



MEG LR2’s rebounded late this week, ending the current downturn. Freight levels have begun to climb off the back off firmer sentiment. TC1 bottomed out at WS103.44 and is now at WS106.25 and a TC20 trip west returned back up to US$3.1m after flooring out at US$2.9m. US$3.2m is currently reported on subjects for this run.

West of Suez, Mediterranean/East LR2’s have been sedate this week and the TC15 index is currently pegged at US$2.63m, down from US$2.7m.


In the MEG, LR1’s have, like their biggest LR2 sisters, improved. TC5 climbed up to just shy of WS140 and a run west on TC8 has also hopped up US$175,000 to US$2.74m

On the UK-Continent, TC16 has remained level all week, still in WS125-127.5 region.


MEG MR’s have been waiting this week to see the LR improvements filter down to them. The TC17 index has remained stable at WS235 all week.

UK-Continent MR vessels looks to be abundant this week and subsequently rates continued on a downturn. TC2 dipped another 40.83 points to WS126.39 and TC19 shed 41.79 points to WS135.

USG MR’s have had a flurry of activity this week seeing freight rate spike in what has become the USG’s usual fashion. The TC14 index dropped from WS104 to WS78.75 and then back up to WS92.5 all over the course of four days. TC18 similarly went from WS167 to WS138 and then back up to WS153 at time of writing. TC21 dropped from US$612,000 to US$504,000 to then return to US$562,500.

The MR Atlantic Triangulation Basket TCE dropped from US$23,305 to US$15,640.


Mediterranean Handymax’s for the fourth week on week held flat around the WS135 mark. Up on the UK-Continent, TC23 continued to mirror the cross Mediterranean Handys all week at WS135.


A busier week as charterers appeared to get caught out by the amount of enquiry and the shortening tonnage list, which owners capitalised on. The rate for 270,000 mt Middle East Gulf to China has rocketed 30 points to WS83.41 (a round trip TCE of nearly US$73,500 per day basis the Baltic Exchange’s vessel description) while the 280,000mt Middle East Gulf to US Gulf trip (via the cape/cape routing) is now rated 11 points firmer than a week ago at WS45.83.

In the Atlantic market, the rate for 260,000mt West Africa/China saw a slightly less dramatic rise of 25 points to WS78.70 (which shows a round voyage TCE of US$67,200 per day). The rate for 270,000mt US Gulf/China is now assessed US$1,933,333 higher than last Friday at US$10,033,333 (US$50,600 per day round trip TCE).


Suezmaxes have had a busy week, especially in West Africa, where available tonnage has dwindled, enquiry has been increasing and the Nigerian government has implemented a tax claw-back policy for monies owed during the last few years. The rate for 130,000mt Nigeria/Rotterdam has steadily risen to WS113.75 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$48,500), 23.25 points higher than last Friday. A slightly different story elsewhere, as the 135,000mt CPC/Med rate has improved a meagre two points to WS112.39 (producing a daily TCE of US$44,500 round-trip) and in the Middle East the rate for 140,000mt Basra/Lavera has hovered around the WS60 level despite a rise in rates on AG/East runs.


In the North Sea, the rate for the 80,000mt Hound Point/Wilhelmshaven slipped another five points to WS135 (showing a round-trip daily TCE of US$41,200) and in the Mediterranean the 80,000mt Ceyhan/Lavera rate took another tumble, losing almost 11 points to about WS140 (a daily round trip TCE of close to US$37,800).

Across the Atlantic, the Stateside Aframax market has continued on an upward trajectory. The rate for 70,000mt East Coast Mexico/US Gulf rose 36+ points to WS216.88, which shows a TCE of about US$67,600/day round trip. For the 70,000mt Covenas/US Gulf trip, the rate increased by about 36 points to WS203.75, representing a round trip TCE of US$57,400 per day, and for the trans-Atlantic route of 70,000mt US Gulf/Rotterdam, the rate is another 17.5 points firmer than last Friday at WS195 (a round trip TCE just shy of US$53,000 per day), no doubt encouraging some European positioned vessels to ballast over to the US Gulf.


The rates have crept up this week with activity reported in both basins. In the east, with some enquires reported, rates have risen by US$3,612 since last Friday to close at US$53,076 for BLNG1 (Gladstone/Japan). This is despite a recent report from the Japanese Ministry of Finance that the overall Japanese LNG imports have fallen by about 19.9% year-on-year in May. Market sentiment has been pushing rates higher, expectations of potential ARB openings has increased chatter suggesting that something can be made of the summer months. As yet though with still few firm enquires and fewer still spot fixtures the overall consensus is muted.

In the West, where a few potential and as yet unverified US-East cargoes are reported the market has reacted as expected and scant details are available of one cargo that got covered late yesterday, however the consensus is that rates are firmer than at the beginning of the week. For BLNG2 (USG/UKC) the rate climbed US$9,980 compared to a week ago to US$58,925 and for BLNG3 (USG/Japan), the rate has risen US$11,182 to US$73,294 over the week. Though this is not a massive increase on round voyage earnings the direction points to potentially happier times ahead. The market has seen a slow and laborious rise back to decent earnings but having had a dramatic fall from over US$500,000 back in November 2022 till now, rates still have some distance to travel.


There was a slight hangover from the Nor-Shipping week, with many participants nursing heavy heads after a lovely sunny time in Oslo. Rates didn’t react much but as the week wore on, an increasing tightness in ships East of Suez put cargoes working under pressure, some brokers recorded US$110+ being bid, although at time of writing the index was yet to catch up while those who were working kept their cards close to their chest. Tonnage remains the name of the game and, although we had a reasonable drop last week, rates have regained footing and expectations are they should hold firm. A BLPG1 run AG-Chiba rose by US$4.429 to close at US$108 a rise of more than US$5,000 per day in TCE earnings pushing us ever closer to US$100,000.

Out in the west, while rates rose significantly for Houston-Chiba (more than US$6.7 on the week a rise of over 4.5%) and the Arb working in its favour, delays in Panama remain a concern for replenishment of tonnage. Owners and brokers overall are satisfied as earnings on a TCE daily round trip are close to US$80,000 per day now on BLPG3, but with BLPG2 remaining quiet – despite rates rising to US$90.2 and a daily TCE earning of US$102,765, the run remains relatively illiquid and focus is still set on the rising sun.