THE BALTIC Dry Index dipped to 2176 this past week before returning to its upward trajectory. On Friday 8 March the index was 2345.

The Baltic Dry Index for the week ending Friday 8 March 2024. Source: Baltic Exchange


Throughout the week, the capesize market experienced shifts in sentiment and activity. The week commenced robustly in the Pacific, with all three miners bustling with activity, driving up rates, and causing C5 to spike by at least US$1.00. However, as the week progressed there was a notable softening in market sentiment, particularly evidenced by a substantial drop in the BCI 5TC which plummeted by US$3,142 to reach US$31,260, and the C5 index experienced a significant drop of US$1.56 to US$12.90. This decline was attributed to subdued activity in both the Pacific and Atlantic markets.

In the Atlantic, bids were swiftly withdrawn from South Brazil and West Africa to the Far East, widening the gap as owners sought to resist. However, the market saw a turnaround towards the end of the week, influenced by positive movements in the FFA market and a pickup in activity in both basins.

In the Pacific brokers have also noticed an increase in operator-controlled cargoes helping the C5 index to edge back up, with the C5 index ending the week at US$14.40. Activity in the Atlantic notably picked up, particularly from South Brazil and West Africa to the Far East. With reports of fixtures in the high US$29.00s from Tubarao to Qingdao, followed by US$30.50, and today there are reports of US$31.25 concluded. All in all, it has been a volatile but positive week, illustrated by the BCI 5TC rising by US$2,205 to close at US$35,201.


Mixed market signals highlighted well with a volatile FFA market failed to dampen spirits in the Panamax sector, with significant gains made. Transatlantic volume remained thin still, but positive sentiment radiated from firmer rates on the fronthaul trips.

South America mid-week became the market’s driving force, with the April arrival window absorbing several vessels at firmer rates compared to end March where rates inevitably became discounted. Typically, some of the well described units were able to achieve around the US$20,000 mark arrival delivery Singapore for route P6 trips. This seemingly impacted positively on south positions in the Pacific basin with solid levels of demand from Indonesia and Australia adding some gravitas to an already well supported market, with US$20,000 achieved a few times on 82,000-dwt types on Australia mineral round trips. Period activity was muted possibly impacted by a volatile FFA market, but reports emerged of a 93,000-dwt delivery China fixing at US$16,250 basis four to seven months, also an 81,000-dwt open North China fixed 12 to 14 months trading at 122.5 percent of BPI.


A week of mixed fortunes for the owning side of things. The Atlantic overall lacked much fresh impetus certainly from the US Gulf, whilst there was also limited possibilities from the South Atlantic.

The Continent-Mediterranean saw some action although rates generally remained flat. However, a more positive feel from the Asian arena with tonnage supply remaining tight, the rates being seen were healthy. Period cover was short, a 58,000-dwt open China was fixed for one year at US$16,500, and a 56,000-dwt open SE Asia fixed seven to nine months at US$16,000. From the Atlantic, a 61,000-dwt open West Africa fixed a trip to China with manganese ore at US$28,500 and a 58,000-dwt open Mediterranean fixed a trip to the US Gulf at US$16,000.

From Asia a 61,000-dwt open Singapore fixed a trip via Malaysia redelivery SE Asia at US$21,000. A 56,000-dwt open Philippines fixed a trip via Indonesia redelivery Bangladesh at US$24,000. It remains to be seen if the optimism in the Asian basin can continue through to the upcoming week.


After an extended period of decline, the first shoots of positivity emerged in the US Gulf, with more visible activity, a 39,000-dwt opening in Tampa fixing to the Continent with grains at US$11,500 whilst a 40,000-dwt fixed from Baltimore to Turkey with an intended cargo of scrap at US$13,000. The South Atlantic also showed promise of improvements with a 36,000-dwt rumored to have fixed from Antonina to the Continent with sugar at around US$18,500 and a 38,000-dwt fixing from Recalada to WC South America with grains at US$27,000. The positivity seen in Asia last week continued for a majority of the week with rumors of upper teens being achieved on larger handies for trips from South East Asia via Australia to China and a 38,000-dwt logger was rumored to have fixed for 2 to 3 laden legs in the US$17,000’s but as the week progressed there was a shift in balance and numbers had begun to soften as cargo availability reduced.



LR2 freight levels in the MEG looked to have reached a floor this week. The 75kt MEG/Japan TC1 index bottomed out at WS144 and has since returned to WS151. The 90kt MEG/UK-Continent TC20 trip to the UK-Continent similarly reached a floor of US$4.38 million mid-week then climbing back up to US$4.57 million at time of writing.

West of Suez, Mediterranean/East LR2 freight remained in the doldrums this week seen in the TC15 index going from US$4.81 million to US$4.51 million.


In the MEG, LR’1’s followed the behavior of their larger sisters this week. The 55kt MEG/Japan index of TC5 stopped at the WS166 level and is currently pegged at WS173. The 65kt MEG/UK-Continent of TC8 levelled off at US$3.89 million to then tick back up to US$3.97 million.

On the UK-Continent, the 60kt ARA/West Africa TC16 trip trundled along in the mid-low WS170’s all week.


MR’s in the MEG have been reportedly stable over the last few days. The TC17 index is currently marked at WS328 after halting its previous downturn at WS317 earlier in the week.

Up in the UK-Continent MR’s lost steam this week. The 37kt ARA/US-Atlantic coast of TC2 index dipped from WS231 to WS173. On a TC19 run (37kt ARA/West Africa) the index shed 50 points to WS197.

The USG MR’s made a significant resurgence this week following a plethora of enquiry into the market. TC14 (38kt US-Gulf/UK-Continent) shot up 70 points to WS226.43. The 38kt US Gulf/Brazil on TC18 also jumped to WS307 (+W75). The 38kt US-Gulf/Caribbean TC21 added 62% to its value and is currently at US$1.14 million. The Baltic round TCE for the trip climbed by 121% to US$46,000 per day as a result.


In the Mediterranean, Handymax’s continued along the TC6 index at WS320 all week, still returning US$57,000 per day Baltic round trip.

Up in North West Europe, the TC23 30kt Cross UK-Continent dipped 21.11 points to WS238.33.


The market sharply rose early in the week, and now sentiment is lacking. The rate for the 270,000 mt Middle East Gulf to China climbed to WS74.55 on Tuesday easing back to last be assessed at WS71.5 which is a week-on-week gain of 11 points and corresponds to a daily round-trip TCE of US$48,914 basis the Baltic Exchange’s vessel description.

In the Atlantic market, the 260,000 mt West Africa/China route experienced something similar, insofar as rose to WS75.05 and has gradually fallen back to an overall week on week gain of nine points at WS72 which shows a round voyage TCE of US$49,796 per day. The rate for 270,000 mt US Gulf/China ascended to US$9.4 million and has since slipped back to US$9,083,333 (a weekly rise of US$172,222) providing a round-trip daily TCE of US$44,881.


Suezmaxes in West Africa remained around the WS102.5-103 level for the 130,000 mt Nigeria/UK Continent trip (a daily round-trip TCE of about US$38,000). In the Mediterranean and Black Sea region the rate for 135,000 mt CPC/Med eased about one point to the WS108 level (showing a daily TCE of US$38,200 round-trip). In the Middle East, the rate for 140,000 mt Middle East Gulf to the Mediterranean (via the Suez Canal) eased eight points to WS97.5 basis routing via the Suez Canal.


In the North Sea, the rate for the 80,000 mt Cross-UK Continent has fallen a solitary point to about WS125 (showing a round-trip daily TCE of around US$26,300 basis Hound Point to Wilhelmshaven).

In the Mediterranean market the rate for 80,000 mt Cross-Mediterranean has managed to recover 44 points to WS151.72 (basis Ceyhan to Lavera, that shows a daily round trip TCE of just over US$39,000).

Across the Atlantic, the Stateside market has risen slightly. The rate for 70,000 mt East Coast Mexico/US Gulf (TD26) rose 2.5 points WS180 (a daily TCE of US$42,929 round trip) while the rate for 70,000 mt Covenas/US Gulf (TD9) firmed 2 points to WS174.69 (a round-trip TCE of US$38,260 per day). The rate for the trans-Atlantic route of 70,000 mt US Gulf/UK Continent (TD25) has 9 points added to the WS200 level (a round trip TCE basis Houston/Rotterdam of approximately US$48,700 per day).


A quiet week for the LNG market, at least in terms of spot fixing. With few reported fixtures around either basin the spot price has languished staying particularly flat, BLNG2-174 moved only US$75 on the week overall. Rates are close to the bottom and brokers are looking at more period focused deals to fill their quotas, with ballas bonus back to the hub only in the Pacific and the just back on the cusp of back to loadport in the Atlantic there isn’t much impetus for the market to shift quickly.

BLNG1-174 Aus-Japan shed US$1355 on the week closing at US$52,628 while as previously stated BLNG2-174 gained an impressive US$75 to finish up virtually unchanged at US$50,697. BLNG3-174 moved little to finish at US$54,473 a rise of US$1662 on the week. The 160cbm index followed suit, BLNG1g was down only US$756 finishing at US$35,345 while BLNG2g and BLNG3g both moved up by US$606, and US$2027 respectively. The close at US$38,492 and US$42,991 respectively for BLNG2g and BLNG3g ends a rather uninteresting week for the spot market.

As discussions focused more on 1 year+ period rates for six months remained unchanged at US$62,500. The 1-year assessment moved up to a close of US$79,300 while 3-year terms were unchanged as yet on US$90,100.


Many people from the LPG market have been in Tokyo for the LPG Conference this week, which has helped in keeping the AG market quiet. Rates were steady/flat across the week with a stable tonnage list if quiet cargo sheet. Rates for BLPG1 Ras Tanura-Chiba rose by US$2.714 giving a final publication rate of US$29,571 and a daily TCE earning equivalent of US$37,920.

The US Market was a little more subdued in actual fixtures – only one reported spot fixture whereas there have been fewer than five for April window so far. A tighter tonnage list after a clear out on contractual business means the ships free to work spot were greatly reduced. The rates reacted accordingly and for BLPG2 Houston-Flushing a rise of US$4.4 pushed the index up to US$63.8 and a daily TCE earning equivalent of US$62,105. BLPG3 Houston-Chiba gained a decent chunk of change moving up US$8.714 to a close of US$114.857 and a daily TCE Earning equivalent of US$41.923.