THE BALTIC Dry Index decreased each day this past week to 1628 on 5 April, continuing a downward trend that began in mid-March.

The Baltic Dry Index for the week ending Friday 5 April 2024. Source: Baltic Exchange


The Capes started the week off slowly but gradually gained momentum. Despite decent cargo volumes, particularly in the Pacific, the C5 index experienced a 50-cent drop, settling at US$9.640 as the week got under way.

There was pressure in the South Atlantic due to a substantial amount of April ballasters, which led to weaker fixtures from South Brazil and West Africa contributing to a significant drop of US$1.685 on the C3 index early in the week. Overall, there were signs of optimism mid-week with increased fixing volumes and positive sentiment, echoed by the positive turn in the FFA market, the C5 index saw a modest increase to US$9.905, while the C3 index reached US$23.90. However, any potential upside was tempered by a quieter end to the week, particularly in the Pacific due to holidays in Hong Kong and China. All in all, it has been a negative end to the week with the BCI 5TC dropping by US$655 to conclude the week at US$18,855.


A rather staggered week for the sector with both holidays at the beginning and the end of the week. The North Atlantic failed to materialize with very limited fresh enquiry being seen and a plentiful supply of tonnage.

A bit more interest was shown from the South Atlantic where demand remained fairly steady, an 82,000-dwt fixing delivery Padang via EC South America redelivery Singapore-Japan at US$21,000. Whilst an 81,000-dwt fixed delivery EC South America redelivery Skaw-Gibraltar at US$23,000.  From Asia, with the slow end to the week negative pressure remained again little in the way of fresh enquiry. An 81,000-dwt was fixed basis delivery Kunsan for a NoPac round voyage at US$13,500. Whilst a 74,000-dwt open China fixed a trip via Indonesia redelivery India at US$12,200 for WC India and US$13,300 for EC India. Period activity remained fairly subdued, an 81,000-dwt open Japan fixing four to seven months trading redelivery worldwide at US$17,000.


A rather negative week overall for the Ultramax and Supramax sizes with little fresh enquiry appearing in most areas. In the Atlantic, the US Gulf in particular suffered with little excitement pushing rates down further. A 63,000-dwt was heard to have been fixed from SW Pass for trip to NC South America at US$12,500.

From the South Atlantic a 62,000-dwt was heard to have been fixed for delivery EC South America for a trip to China at US$16,500 plus US$650,000. However that said, there seemed to be a little more interest from the Continent / Mediterranean a 57,000-dwt was heard fixed at a price of US$16,500 plus US$185,000 hold cleaning for a cement run from the East Mediterranean to US East Coast. Like the larger sizes, the sector saw a relatively slow market in Asia, an Ultramax open North China was heard fixed for a NoPac round at US$14,500.

Further south, a 63,500-dwt open South China fixed a trip via Indonesia redelivery China in the mid US$12,000s. From the Indian Ocean, again rates remained under negative pressure a 56,000-dwt fixing delivery South Africa for a trip to WC India at US$18,000 plus US$180,000 ballast bonus.  


In a week punctuated with holidays, visible activity was muted and negative sentiment shrouded the Handysize market in both basins. Across the Continent and the Mediterranean, levels remained stable, with a 28,000-dwt fixing from Casablanca to Koper in the low teens with a cargo of fertilizer and some premium business loading in the Russian Baltic was also rumored to have been fixed on 33,000-dwt in the low US$20,000’s to West Africa but further details were not yet available. In the South Atlantic, despite a lack of prompt enquiry, sources expected the market to improve for the second part of April with a 38,000-dwt fixing from Itaqui to Singapore-Japan at US$20,000 for mid-April loading.  The US Gulf continued to see pressure on prompt tonnage with a 38,000-dwt fixed from Mobile to the UK-Continent with a cargo of pellets at US$8,500. With holidays in China, a subdued feeling was visible with a 26,000-dwt linked to fixing from Caofeidian to South East Asia at US$8,500.



In the MEG this week LR2 freight lost steam as tonnage availability outstripped demand. The TC1 rate for 75kt MEG/Japan came down 37 points to WS194 and the 90kt MEG/UK-Continent TC20 voyage similarly went from US$6.22 million to US$5.68 million. 

West of Suez, Mediterranean/East LR2’s held stable around the US$4.25 million level (for the albeit short week).


In the MEG, LR’1 freight has also dropped this week. The 55kt MEG/Japan index of TC5 lost 10% of its value down to WS233. The 65kt MEG/UK-Continent of TC8 came off US$256,000 to US$4.69 million.

On the UK-Continent, the 60kt ARA/West Africa remained flat around the WS200 mark all week.


MR’s in the MEG saw enough activity to keep freight levels from really moving this week. TC17 35kt MEG/East Africa dipped five points from WS311 to WS306. The Baltic TCE for the run is still over the US$30,000 per day round trip.

On the UK-Continent MR’s managed to resist downward pressure this week. The 37kt ARA/US-Atlantic coast of TC2 came down a modest single point to WS199. On a TC19 run (37kt ARA/West Africa) the index managed to climb ten points to WS230 after a widely reported market fixture around this level. 

A week of downs for the USG MR’s over the last few days. TC14 (38kt US-Gulf/UK-Continent) shed 18 points down to WS206. The 38kt US Gulf/Brazil on TC18 went from WS311 to WS295 and the 38kt US-Gulf/Caribbean of TC21 managed to hold on over the US$1 million level at around US$1.1 million all week.


In the Mediterranean, 30kt Cross Mediterranean (TC6) had a 33 point chunk taken out of it to land at WS253.  

Up in North West Europe, the TC23 30kt Cross UK-Continent remained sedate around the WS217.5 level.


The market was relatively static over the past week with the rate for 270,000 mt Middle East Gulf to China meagerly rising half a point to WS65.40 which corresponds to a daily round-trip TCE of US$41,729 basis the Baltic Exchange’s vessel description.

Meanwhile, in the Atlantic market, the 260,000 mt West Africa/China route softened one point to WS65.72 showing a round voyage TCE of US$42,479 per day. The rate for 270,000 mt US Gulf/China dropped US$229,444 since last Thursday to US$8,515,000 providing a round-trip daily TCE of US$40,328.


The Suezmax market in West Africa was quiet this week, but support for owners came from the improving US Gulf and Caribbean export market. For the 130,000 mt Nigeria/UK Continent voyage rates fell by four points to WS106.22 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$39,012). In the Mediterranean and Black Sea region rates remained flat, hovering just above WS109 for 135,000 mt CPC/Mediterranean trip (showing a daily TCE of a little over US$37,000 round-trip). In the Middle East, the rate for 140,000 mt Middle East Gulf to the Mediterranean (via the Suez Canal) was assessed two points firmer at just below WS100.


In the North Sea, the rate for the 80,000 mt Cross-UK Continent slipped five points to WS131.79 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$30,850 basis Hound Point to Wilhelmshaven).

In the Mediterranean market the rate for 80,000 mt Cross-Mediterranean has improved by three points to WS167.67 (basis Ceyhan to Lavera, that shows a daily round trip TCE of US$46,130).

Across the Atlantic, the Stateside market has had a reversal of fortunes with the rate for 70,000 mt East Coast Mexico/US Gulf (TD26) climbing ten points to WS145.31 (a daily TCE of US$26,588 round trip) and the rate for 70,000 mt Covenas/US Gulf (TD9) rose six points to just shy of WS140 (a round-trip TCE of close to US$24,000 per day). The rate for the trans-Atlantic route of 70,000 mt US Gulf/UK Continent (TD25) recovered 28 points to WS175.56 (a round trip TCE basis Houston/Rotterdam of US$39,008 per day).


After the Easter break there was a slow start to the LNG market this week with enquiries focused mainly on optimization and tonnage availability, with relatively healthy the rates there was little movement across both ship sizes. BLNG1 Aus-Japan for the 170cbm lost a few hundred dollars to finish at US$47,296 while the 160cbm gained just over a hundred dollars to finish at US$30,866 keeping the delta around US$17,000-20,000.

BLNG2 US-Continent lost for both ships with little fresh enquiry and a short week this was expected, the 174cbm fell to a close of US$45,288 while the 160cbm finished US$34,212 a tightening of the delta we have seen of late but in line with market expectations. For BLNG3 US-Japan the 160cbm fared worse than the larger more eco ships losing US$2492 on the week to finish at US$41,405 while the 174cbm fell to US$53,304 a drop of US$1253. The LNG spot market is very seasonal, and the current season is waiting for a fresh injection of activity to see any movement up or down, brokers are reporting that we are at the lower end of the barrel and rates ought to rise rather than fall, but it’s never a certainty with LNG.

Period was flat with little movement on all three periods, the 6-months lost a little to US$62,600 while 1-year terms rose to US$77,133 and 3-year deals fell a tiny amount to US$80,400.


Not a lot to report coming out of the Middle Eastern Gulf this week, BLPG1 Ras Tanura-Chiba languished a little with few fixtures and a longer tonnage list, but with many ships showing either in West or Eastern lists the tonnage could thin out. Rates themselves were a little soft after the Bank Holiday weekend and BLPG1 fell by US$1.429 to a close of US$64.714 and a daily TCE Earning equivalent of US$43,536.

The US Market fared better with positive gains, however modest, across both routes. There are cargoes showing with May dates already suggesting April is all but finished, which could push rates down while there is a lull in activity. BLPG2 Houston-Flushing moved up by US$2.6 to finish at US$67.2 with a daily TCE Earning of US$65,817 while BLPG3 Houston-Chiba rose by US$4.285 to finish at US$124.714 and a TCE Equivalent of US$49,594.