Baltic Exchange Shipping Insights

A roundup of the week's tanker and dry bulk market



The market reached new heights this week as the 5TC topped $38,014, a level not seen in the sector since 2013. Fridays 5TC closed down $732 to settle at $37,921.

While this week's surge in rates was driven by a tightening of tonnage that is able to arrive within September, a wider sector story is emerging of vessel delays being caused by docking issues.

The upcoming IMO regulations, which will apply from 1 January 2020, have vessels preparing tanks to receive cleaner fuels while others are installing scrubber units to process high sulphur fuel on the go.

These unusual dockings are causing delays and disruptions to tonnage flows, which is further aggravating a tight tonnage situation in parts of the market.

The Pacific Basin this week experienced a surge early on due to sentiment from the West, but was otherwise relatively steady, while not particularly busy.

The C5 opened the week at $10.359 to close Friday at $11.214.

The Brazil to China market opened the week at $28.118, reached a high of $29.10, before closing the week out at $27.955.


It was a largely uneventful week, with the indices drifting lower, albeit without much conviction.

Sources said owners with prompt tonnage on the Continent had to reduce their ideas to find cover.

However, this appeared limited to shorter duration trades, with later tonnage content to sit and wait.

The North Pacific also suffered from a seasonal slump in North Pacific stems.

The South continued to be reliant on the South American market, which saw Kamsarmaxes achieve as much as $20,000 from Singapore for the long round voyage.

However, dips in the paper values helped to weaken sentiment, giving charterers the opportunity to step back in the hope of finding cheaper offers.

Fundamentally the market appeared stable and well balanced, with any injection of South American activity likely to see rates improve once again.

However, the mood had remained cautious, without clear direction during the week.


Overall rates remained healthy last week.

However, as the week ended, Asia rates were easing a little due to less demand. As a result, the Atlantic saw some sideways movement from East Coast South America and the eastern Mediterranean.

There was still a little period activity, with a 52,000dwt ship open China covered for 9-11 months trading and redelivery worldwide at $10,750.

From the Atlantic, an Ultramax fixed at $19,000 for a short period redelivery in the Atlantic.

The US Gulf remained positive with an Ultramax fixing at $25,000 for a coal run to the Baltic.

Activity waned a little as the week closed from the Mediterranean, but a 56,000dwt ship fixed a trip from Algeria to West Africa at $19,000.

From Asia a 58,000-tonner fixed delivery Fuzhou, via Indonesia, redelivery China, at $12,800, while a 50,000dwt ship covered an Australian round delivery South China, redelivery Japan, at $13,450.

The Indian Ocean still commanded good levels, with a 57,000dwt vessel fixing delivery Arabian Gulf with aggregates for a trip to Chittagong at $20,000.


The Baltic Handysize Index (BHSI) reached its new high this week, surpassing the last peak at 676 from end October 2018.

The rates in the Continent were firm, but slightly easing towards the weekend.

The US Gulf and East Coast South America markets lent further support, whilst in the East, activity was fairly flat throughout the week, yet steady levels remained.

On the period front, a 37,000dwt ship was fixed from the UK for four to six months at $14,250.

From the Black Sea, a 35,000dwt ship was fixed at close to $18,000 for moving steels to Nigeria.

A 31,000dwt vessel open in the same area was fixed for a trip to the Continent at $13,850.

Large Handysize vessels were paid in the $11,000s basis Far East delivery for a CIS or North Pacific round trip.

A 32,000dwt ship open in Southeast Asia was fixed at a rate in the low $10,000s for redelivery in the Singapore-Japan range.



Rates in the Middle East Gulf fell this week, as 280,000mt to the US Gulf, basis Cape to Cape, is now assessed two points lower at WS 25.

270,000mt to China is down almost 10 points from a week ago at very low WS 50s.

260,000mt West Africa to China is also in the very low WS 50s, down about six points.

For the 270,000mt US Gulf to China trip, rates lost a further $70k to $6.2m level.

For North Sea going East, a Chinese charterer is reported to have taken 270,000mt STS Skaw to China at $5.6m.


Rates across this asset-class have been crab-like this week, with 130,000mt West Africa to UK-Continent moving sideways at WS 60 level.

135,000mt Black Sea to the Mediterranean was steady at WS 70.

The 140,000mt Basrah to Mediterranean rates maintained at WS 32.5 level, although an ex dry-dock ship has reportedly discounted this by 2.5 points.


80,000mt Ceyhan to the Mediterranean increased another 10 points to WS 95, whilst a similar long-awaited rise was seen in Cross-North Sea rates, which are now at WS 95, with 100,000mt Baltic to UK-Continent up 17.5 points to WS 75.

Bigger improvements were seen on the other side of the Atlantic, 70,000mt Caribbean to US Gulf went up over 25 points to WS 117.5 region, while 70,000mt US Gulf to the Mediterranean increased about 20 points to WS 105-107.5 level.


The market for 75,000mt Middle East Gulf to Japan came under downward pressure, easing from around WS 110 to WS 102.5.

55,000mt to Japan trade followed suit, softening from low WS 120s to WS 117.5.

A volatile week saw rates for 37,000mt Continent to US Atlantic Coast initially climb to low WS 100s, before easing back to sit now at around WS 95.

The long weekend in USA saw tonnage building and rates in the 38,000mt US Gulf to UK-Continent backhaul trade soften from low WS 90s to around WS 85.

This report is produced by the Baltic Exchange.

The Baltic Exchange, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Exchange, is the world's only independent source of maritime market information for the trading and settlement of physical and derivative contracts.

Its international community of over 650 members encompasses the majority of world shipping interests and commits to a code of business conduct overseen by the Baltic.

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