THE BALTIC Dry Index was 1844 on Friday 17 May. The index is now 33% higher than it was in the same week last year.

The Baltic Dry Index for the week ending Friday 17 May 2024. Source: Baltic Exchange


This week, the Capesize market saw a steady decline, with the BCI 5TC beginning at US$25,773 and dropping daily, except for a modest rise of US$962 today, ending the week at US$22,180. Despite healthy cargo volumes in the Pacific, market activity was sluggish as the week got under way, partly due to holidays in Asia. The derailment of a Rio Tinto train in Western Australia did not significantly impact the market. Activity in the Pacific increased significantly throughout the week, leading to the market finding a level and a positive turn by the week’s end. The C5 index rose by 0.521, closing at US$10.656. In the Atlantic, the South Brazil and West Africa to China market also softened, at the early part of the week with an increasing list of available tonnage in ballast, which contributed to declining rates. However, the week ends on a positive note, with reports of improved fixtures on C3, causing the index to rise by 0.314, reaching US$25.094.


A lacklustre week for the Panamax market more noticeably in the Atlantic as limited demand was met with an increasing tonnage count. The Atlantic lacked trans-Atlantic demand and returned a predominantly fronthaul led basin with a steady grains and mineral flow from most origins, reports of an 81,000-dwt delivery Continent achieving US$26,000 for a trip via US East coast redelivery China. There was little to report on trans-Atlantic, some mineral voyage stems covered, equating to extremely low time charter equivalents. In Asia, a mixed week with the NoPac market lacking any kind of support rates consequently drifted, demand ex Australia picked up over the week with improved levels seen on the nearby position, reports midweek of an 82,000-dwt delivery South China agreeing a rate of US$18,750 for trip via EC Australia redelivery China. There was limited period reporting but it did include rumors of an 82,000-dwt delivery Japan fixed basis 10/12 months at US$18,500.


A rather subdued week overall which saw rates slip lower. Little in the way of fresh enquiry was seen in the US Gulf and the Continent-Mediterranean lacked fresh impetus with prompt tonnage readily available. A 57,000-dwt was heard fixed delivery Turkey for a trip via Black Sea readily West Mediterranean in the low US$13,000s. From East Coast South America brokers spoke of little fresh enquiry for end of May dates which again kept rates in check. A 58,000-dwt went from Santos to Bangladesh at around US$17,000 plus US$700,000.  In the East, a further lack of fresh enquiry from Southeast Asia also meant rates remained lower than of late. However, the Indian Ocean seemingly gained momentum and some stronger levels were seen. A 63,000-dwt fixed delivery Port Elizabeth for a trip to China in the mid US$20,000s plus mid US$200,000s ballast bonus. Period activity was limited, a 63,000-dwt open Philippines was fixed for 3 to months trading at US$20,500.


Limited cargo availability remained an underlying issue across the Atlantic, whilst in the Mediterranean a 37,000-dwt was placed on subjects basis passing Canakkale via the Black Sea to Barcelona at US$8,000.  In the South Atlantic, a 36,000-dwt was fixed for a trip basis delivery Recalada with prompt dates for a trip to West Coast Central America at US$23,000, whilst a 38,000-dwt fixed from delivery in the River Plate for a trip to Algeria at US$17,000.  Further North a 40,000-dwt was liked to fixing from Vila Do Conde to Norway with an intended cargo of alumina at US$14,000 plus a US$60,000 ballast bonus. In Asia, a 37,000-dwt logs-fitted vessel was fixed basis delivery in Southern China for a round trip via New Zealand with an intended cargo of logs at US$16,000. Period activity also remained as a scrubber fitted 38,000-dwt was fixed for 3 to 5 months at US$16,000 with 40% of the scrubber for Charterer’s benefit.



MEG LR2’s continued climbing this week. The TC1 rate for 75,000 mt MEG/Japan rose another 16 points to WS247 and the 90,000 mt MEG/UK-Continent TC20 voyage was over US$583,000 higher at US$7,150,000.

West of Suez, Mediterranean/East LR2’s rebounded this week. The TC15 index ascended about US$220,000 to US$3,487,500.


In the MEG, LR1 freight again followed the trend of the larger siblings. The 55,000 mt MEG/Japan index of TC5 went from WS233.44 to WS268.75. The 65,000 mt MEG/UK-Continent of TC8 climbed from US$5,150,000 to US$6,070,000.

On the UK-Continent, the 60,000 mt ARA/West Africa (TC16) reversed the recent decline, gained 2.5 points, and settled at WS157.5.


The MR market in the MEG continued to rise with the 35,000 mt MEG/East Africa route (TC17) having a further 14 points added to assessments at WS394.29.

On the UK-Continent the MRs were softer this week. The 37,000 mt ARA/US-Atlantic coast of TC2 fell back six points to WS192.78 (although the Baltic round-voyage TCE remains above the US$20,000 per day mark). The TC19 run (37,000 mt ARA/West Africa) was also weaker, losing seven points to WS213.44.

USG MRs collapsed this week. TC14 (38,000 mt US-Gulf/UK-Continent) lost 40 points to WS132.14, producing a round trip TCE of about US$11,500). The 38,000 mt US Gulf/Brazil on TC18 similarly lost 46 points of its value at WS202.86 (US$24,300 per day TCE round-trip basis Houston to Santos) and the 38,000 mt US-Gulf/Caribbean of TC21 is over US$287,000 weaker at US$585,714 (a TCE of US$14,800 basis a round trip voyage Houston/Pozos Colorados).


In the Mediterranean, 30,000 mt Cross Mediterranean (TC6) recovered by 16 points this week to WS267.5 having slacked off to WS251 last Friday. In Northwest Europe, the TC23 30,000 mt Cross UK-Continent gained five points to WS250.


The market remained relatively flat in the Middle East with the rate for the benchmark 270,000 mt Middle East Gulf to China at WS72.15 which translates to a daily round-trip TCE of US$51,163 basis the Baltic Exchange’s vessel description.

In the Atlantic market a mixed story. The 260,000 mt West Africa/China was about 1.5 points lower than a week ago at WS73.17 showing a round voyage TCE of US$52,539 per day, while the rate for 270,000 mt US Gulf/China climbed by US$220,000 to US$9,560,000 corresponding to a round-trip daily TCE of US$50,341.


The Suezmax market in West Africa relinquished recent gains as the 130,000 mt Nigeria/UK Continent trip shed 7.5 points to WS102.06 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$38,780). In the Mediterranean and Black Sea region the rate gained a point to WS111.75 level for the 135,000 mt CPC/Mediterranean trip (showing a daily TCE of US$41,520 round-trip). In the Middle East, the rate for 140,000 mt Middle East Gulf to the Mediterranean (via the Suez Canal) remains around the WS95 mark.


In the North Sea, the rate for the 80,000 mt Cross-UK Continent remained on equal par with a week ago at the WS144-145 level (a daily round-trip TCE of a shade over US$45,100 basis Hound Point to Wilhelmshaven).

In the Mediterranean market the rate for 80,000 mt Cross-Mediterranean had 16 points added at WS196.39 (basis Ceyhan to Lavera, that shows a daily round trip TCE of US$62,928) on the back of tight itineraries in part caused by seemingly slow scheduling of discharges in Trieste.

Across the Atlantic, the 70,000 mt East Coast Mexico/US Gulf (TD26) lost 20 points to WS150.50 (a daily TCE of about US$31,300 round trip) and the rate for 70,000 mt Covenas/US Gulf (TD9) was assessed 17 points down for the week at WS148.13 (a round-trip TCE of US$29,208 per day). The rate for the trans-Atlantic route of 70,000 mt US Gulf/UK Continent (TD25) fell by another 15 points to WS165.56 (a round trip TCE basis Houston/Rotterdam of US$37,508 per day), again ballasters from Europe are not being encouraged.


Despite the LNG market seeing a reasonable amount of activity on both enquiry and fixing, the levels for both ships have barely moved once again. Charterers have been out looking for modern 2-stroke ships but rates particularly in the Atlantic are very flat while in the Pacific levels moved more against enquiry, they still didn’t excite much. Most of the market focus has been on the period enquiry which has suggested that those players out looking could see an improvement in the market but our period levels suggest it is not yet forthcoming.

The BLNG1 Aus-Japan moved positively again on the 174cbm up US$2,216 finishing at US$48,122 while the 160cbm moved US$770 up to US$36,165. The BLNG2 Houston-Cont wavered with both the 174cbm and 160cbm indexes gaining less than US$1,000 each, the 174cbm finished at US$43,040 while the delta we have seen of around US$10,000 PD between the 2-strokes and TFDE’s held and the 160cbm finished at US$32,572. BLNG3 Houston-Japan was mostly flat with levels remaining relatively unchanged at US$49,389 and US$39,154 for the 174cbm and 160cbm respectively.

In the Period market, despite lots of talk, the level moved little with 6-months unchanged at US$74,600 and the 1-year gaining US$433 to US$80,100 but the 3-year lost some value moving down to US$81,700.


Despite few reports coming from brokers on actual ships getting fixed, there has been a strengthening of rates this week. The East has seen owners increasing their ideas for freight and with spot cargoes being taken on higher than last done there is stable footing for levels. BLPG1 Ras Tanura-Chiba rose by US$6.643 to a close of US$84.786 giving a daily TCE earning equivalent of US$67,239.

Across the Atlantic the US market has seen few cargoes actually fixing but what has been done has improved freight levels, with both BLPG2 and BLPG3 seeing increases. BLPG2 Houston-Flushing gained a modest US$3.2 to a close of US$80.6 and a TCE earning of US$87,790, while BLPG3 Houston-Chiba made the biggest jump of all three routes on the week gaining US$6.857 to finish at US$145.857 and a daily TCE of US$70,528.