THE BALTIC Dry Index declined each day this past week, landing at 2196 on Friday 22 March. 

The Baltic Dry Index for the week ending Friday 22 March 2024. Source: Baltic Exchange


Similar to last week, the Capesize started positively but it was soon paused. The Capesize 5TC struggled in the negative territory in the rest of the week, breaking the US$30,000 threshold and eventually settling at US$28,875 on Friday.

After the cyclone across Western Australia, C5, the West Australia to Qingdao trade continued its turbulent journey by reaching over US$13 mid-week before ultimately closing at US$12.171. C3, the Brazil to Qingdao trade hovered at the level of US$30 but ultimately closed at US$28.535. Atlantic round voyage and front haul runs both declined, but they are still about twice of the values compared with the second half of March last year, at US$25,642 and US$56,625 respectively.


It proved to be a compelling week for the Panamax sector, where the Atlantic appeared to provide a positional divide with the North Atlantic tonnage under pressure due to a lack of demand. With US$20,000 agreed for an 83,000-dwt delivery NW Africa for a trip via NC South America redelivery Skaw-Gibraltar, rates now appeared sub US$19,000 for the same criteria. Further south the seasonal steady flow of cargo from the Americas kept rates largely flat but appeared to be tapering off as the week ended as a wide bid/offer spread emerged with Charterers stepping back.

Asia too saw steady declines as the week progressed with the north of the basin in particular coming under pressure, whilst further south some limited support lent by steady coal demand ex Indonesia along with grain supply emanating from South America. Plenty of period activity the headline rate being an 82,000-dwt delivery Vietnam achieving US$24,000 basis 6/8 months.


A more positive affair for the sector overall with a strong amount of demand from the Atlantic outpacing the lower activity levels seen from the Asian arena, although there was seemingly a more robust feel from the Indian Ocean as the high levels seen in the South Atlantic saw vessels looking further afield.

In the Atlantic, demand from the South Americas saw a 63,000-dwt fixing a trip from South America to Singapore-Japan in the very low US$20,000s plus low US$1 million ballast bonus.

For trans-Atlantic runs a 63,000-dwt fixed again from South America to the Continent-Mediterranean at US$27,000. From the US Gulf a 61,000-dwt was heard to have been fixed for a trip to Japan at US$27,000. From the Indian Ocean, a 61,000-dwt fixed delivery Port Elizabeth redelivery Far East at US$23,000 plus US$230,000 ballast bonus. Whilst from Asia limited fresh enquiry from Indonesia saw a 60,000-dwt fixing delivery Hong Kong trip via Indonesia redelivery South Korea at US$15,000.


The handy sector saw more visible activity in the Atlantic and levels seeing steady improvements. On the Continent, a 36,000-dwt was linked to fixing from Grenaa via Rostock to Morocco at US$17,250 whilst a 32,000-dwt fixed from Hartlepool to the US Gulf at US$13,300.

The South Atlantic, continued to see a lack of available tonnage and a 32,000-dwt was rumored to have fixed from Recalada to the Persian Gulf in the US$20,000s. Also, a 37,000-dwt fixed from Vitoria to Rotterdam at around US$20,000 earlier in the week. More activity was also seen in the US Gulf and US East Coast with a 38,000-dwt fixing from Norfolk to the Continent at US$11,000. The Pacific region had remained balanced in general with a 38,000-dwt opening in Qingdao fixing a trip to the Persian Gulf at US$14,000, whilst a 37,000-dwt fixed from Bayuquan for an inter Far East trip in the US$15,000s.



After reaching a ceiling LR rates began to drop this week in the MEG. After topping out a WS320 (up from WS278) the rate for 75kt MEG/Japan is currently pegged at WS313. The 90kt MEG/UK-Continent TC20 voyage similarly stopped climbing at US$7.9 million to then resettle at US$7.8 million.

West of Suez, Mediterranean/East LR2’s improved modestly this week and the TC15 index went from US$4.38 million to US$4.41 million.


In the MEG, LR1’s freight followed the pattern of the LR2’s but not to the same magnitude. The 55kt MEG/Japan index of TC5 ultimately went from WS285 to WS311 peaking mid-week at WS318. The 65kt MEG/UK-Continent of TC8 hit a roof of US$6 million this week (currently at US$5.8 million) with the Baltic description TCE via Suez breaching US$80,000 per day round trip.

On the UK-Continent, the 60kt ARA/West Africa stalled this week and fell, the TC16 index went from WS217 to WS211.


MR’s in the MEG also charged upwards this week. TC17 35kt MEG/East Africa shot up 59 points to WS421 (it currently sits at WS416) this took the Baltic round trip TCE for the trip to around US$51,000 per day. 

Up in the UK-Continent MR’s came under pressure this week from charterers. The 37kt ARA/US-Atlantic coast of TC2 came down roughly in the same format as it went up last week, the index dropped from WS251 to WS206. On a TC19 run (37kt ARA/West Africa) the index followed suit and shed 48 points down to WS224 across the week. 

Another week of ups and downs for the USG MR’s this week. TC14 (38kt US-Gulf/UK-Continent) after a little ten point spike in to the mid 190’s is now back in the mid WS180’s. The 38kt US Gulf/Brazil on TC18 hovered around the high WS270’s to low WS280’s and the 38kt US-Gulf/Caribbean of TC21 dropped by went from US$878,000 to US$900,000 and is back down at US$871,000 at time of writing.


In the Mediterranean, 30kt Cross Mediterranean (TC6) climbed circa 30 points to WS350 where it looks to have settled out. 

Up in Northwest Europe, the TC23 30kt Cross UK-Continent improved modestly WS263 (+WS10).


The market eased slightly this week in all regions. The rate for the 270,000 mt Middle East Gulf to China slipped 4 points to WS71.50 which corresponds to a daily round-trip TCE of US$49,319 basis the Baltic Exchange’s vessel description.

In the Atlantic market, the 260,000 mt West Africa/China route softened 3.5 points to WS72.40 showing a round voyage TCE of US$50,562 per day The rate for 270,000 mt US Gulf/China dropped US$77,778 since last Friday to US$9,088,889 providing a round-trip daily TCE of US$45,225.


Suezmaxes in West Africa were slightly firmer, with four points added to the 130,000 mt Nigeria/UK Continent voyage (a daily round-trip TCE of US$39,400). In the Mediterranean and Black Sea region the rate for 135,000 mt CPC/Mediterranean remained flat at around the WS106.5-107 level (showing a daily TCE of around US$36,000 round-trip). In the Middle East, the rate for 140,000 mt Middle East Gulf to the Mediterranean (via the Suez Canal) was assessed one point firmer at WS96.50, with the last done reported to be at WS67.5 via the Cape of Good Hope (due to the ongoing Red Sea issues which include a reported resurgence of Somali piracy).


In the North Sea, the rate for the 80,000 mt Cross-UK Continent gained four points to WS143.57 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$41,515 basis Hound Point to Wilhelmshaven).

In the Mediterranean market the rate for 80,000 mt Cross-Mediterranean has decreased by one point to WS172.39 (basis Ceyhan to Lavera, that shows a daily round trip TCE of US$49,335).

Across the Atlantic, the Stateside market has tumbled comparatively. The rate for 70,000 mt East Coast Mexico/US Gulf (TD26) fell 23 points to WS150.31 (a daily TCE of US$29,772 round trip) and the rate for 70,000 mt Covenas/US Gulf (TD9) slumped by 22 points to WS146.56 (a round-trip TCE of US$27,303 per day). The rate for the trans-Atlantic route of 70,000 mt US Gulf/UK Continent (TD25) shrank by 31 points to WS148.75 (a round trip TCE basis Houston/Rotterdam of US$30,385 per day).


A relatively stable week for the LNG in terms of freight both the 174cbm and 160cbm indexes moved in unison with the Atlantic picking up on both BLNG2 and BLNG3 while in the Pacific levels fell. Some interesting news from the LNG world is that once again LNG imports into Japan fell, export levels from the US also dropped while China saw an increase of up to 20% for the first two months of the year compared to the same period last year. How this will affect freight going forward will remain to be seen but the landscape of LNG is beginning to change for shipping players. Looking to the East BLNG1 Aus-Japan fell by US$3,117 for the 174 while the 160 dropped by US$3,735 giving a final publication of US$48,148 and US$30,162 respectively.

In the Atlantic as rates continued to climb there were few reports of actual fixtures but enquires from the Mediterranean and Africa kept chins wagging, BLNG2 US-Continent rose by US$2515 for the 174 to give a close of US$54,212 while the 160 gained US$1438 to finish at US$50,427. BLNG3 US-Japan saw similar rises with the 174 up to a finish of US$59,567 while the 160 crept up to US$46,393. Deals for the US are mainly on round trip basis, in the Pacific there are reports both ballast bonus to hub and round trip are in play.

Period remains flat, though some reports of both multi month and three year period fixtures took place rates remain undisclosed. The Baltic assessments moved little with six months at US$63,700 PD, the one year assessment fell to US$76,967 while three year broke over US$80k to US$80,600.


A very quiet week in the AG for fixing, with one reported fixture by ATC at US$78 at the start of the week sentiment fell off quite significantly since then with rates falling from the high of US$79 to close at US$66.857 (a drop of US$12.143). Little enquiry and more ships looking at the lower earnings in the States might lengthen the tonnage list as well. TCE earnings for BLPG1 Ras Tanura-Chiba dropped by US$13,296 to US$46,347 daily equivalent.

Across the pond to the Atlantic marker there was not much else to say that hasn’t been said on BLPG1. BLPG2 Houston-Flushing was very quiet with no reported fixtures and sentiment waning we closed down a total of US$7.4 for a publication of US$69.6. BLPG3 Houston-Chiba shared a pretty similar fate losing US$12.857 to close down at US$124.429 giving a TCE daily earning of US$49,806, meaning that TCE earnings for the East and West delta remain very close and could affect tonnage availability in the US.