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Baltic Exchange Shipping Insights

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




Charterers took a step back last week after previously frenetic activity.

In the Middle East Gulf rates peaked at WS 85 for 270,000mt to China, and then softened to low WS 80s, as owners await the November Saudi program.

Going west, 280,000mt to the US Gulf was assessed at around WS 32.5 Cape/Cape.

West Africa to China eased modestly to WS 79, basis 260,000mt. IOC covered East Coast Mexico to Paradip at $6.4 million.

Vitol fixed Hound Point to South Korea at $6.85 million.


West Africa gained 15 points to WS 107.5 for 130,00mt to UK/Cont.

The Black Sea held at WS 105 for 135,000mt to Mediterranean with South Korea covered at $3.6 million.

Libya to Ningbo went at $3.475 million.


Rates in the Mediterranean came under pressure with Ceyhan fixed at WS 105 and the Black Sea paying WS 110/112.5 basis 80,000mt.

Baltic rates for 100,000mt gained 10 points to WS 100.

The 80,000mt cross North Sea firmed in line with the Baltic at WS 115.

The Caribbean Aframax market gained 25 points to low WS 160s for 70,000mt from Venezuela to the US Gulf.


Limited tonnage availability saw the market for 55,000mt from ARA to the US Gulf remain around WS 115.


In the 75,000mt Middle East Gulf/Japan trade, rates eased 2.5 points to WS 100 with rates for 55,000mt back to WS 120 after peaking at WS 125.

A slow start saw rates for 37,000mt Cont/USAC ease 15 points to WS 130 level.

The 38,000mt backhaul climbed 25 points to WS 100.



A sharp reversal of fortunes for the big ships as the week closed after a depressed beginning.

To start with, drops were sudden, with the key West Australia/China rate falling over a dollar in one day, dropping Tuesday to $7.95 before climbing to $8,50 on Wednesday and finishing the week in the low $9.00s.

Timecharter rates also rose sharply with a well-described 180,000dwt reaching over $20,000 daily for China delivery with West Australia rounds.

Brazil loaders initially saw rates change little despite Vale allegedly fixing several ships as well as CSN.

Rates from Tubarao/China most of the week failed to reach $21 but Friday saw a report of a 27-28 October cargo fixed at $21.00 and rumours of a second half November cargo fixed at $22.50.

The North Atlantic market was initially very slow, but here too rates barrelled higher despite little change in cargo volumes.

A good spec 179,000dwt open Gibraltar, fixed a trans-Atlantic round at $18,000 daily with Skaw-Gibraltar redelivery, or, $20,000 daily if Cape Passero and a super eco achieved $23,750 daily from Gibraltar for a run from Bolivar to Rotterdam.


Last week the North Atlantic firmed as sustained demand saw a clear out of most of the prompt tonnage.

Several charterers took tonnage for two to three laden legs despite paying a premium, with modern Kamsarmaxes fixed at $18,000 redelivery Atlantic.

The South was a little slower than previous weeks, with attention now focused on November stems, which, seemed less abundant.

However, rates have so far remained steady, with well described ships still commanding around $16,500 from Singapore.

The Pacific began to look more positional, with very limited NoPac enquiry.

The region has been underpinned by consistent Indonesian and Australian mineral demand.

However, vessels open in the North seemed to be discounting to find cover.

Period interest remained with several vessels now being taken in the Atlantic to cover both trans-Atlantic and front haul stems.


A positive week overall with most routes seeing steady gains but US Gulf routes seeing slightly lower levels.

Period activity increased with a 64,000dwt open in the Indian Ocean achieving $14,000 and a 58,000-dwt open South-East Asia fixed at $13,000, both for a short period.

Atlantic activity centred on the East Mediterranean, with Supramaxes achieving in the low $20,000s for trips via the Black Sea to the Far East.

There was limited activity from the US Gulf region, with a 56,000dwt fixed delivery Huelvap, via North coast South America, to China, at $21,000.

East coast South America remained steady, with good cargo volumes. Healthier numbers in the Asia market especially from South-East Asia with a 57,000dwt fixing delivery Vietnam, via Indonesia, to China at $13,000.

Significant activity in the Indian Ocean was evident and rates jumped.

A 57,000dwt fixed delivery South Africa to the Far East at $13,500 plus a ballast bonus in the low $400,000s.


The BHSI remained positive last week with stronger numbers discussed particularly from the Black Sea-Mediterranean area.

East coast South America and the US Gulf continued to improve, while the Pacific market remained largely flat.

Increased activity in the Atlantic basin also included a tick more long and short period fixtures.

A 30,000dwt open Turkey in the second half of October was recently fixed for one year at $9,750, but excluding trading in West Africa and with redelivery in the Atlantic.

A 36,000dwt open Cuba was fixed at $13,500 for three to five months.

A 30,000dwt open in the Continent was fixed at about $9,700 for the same duration, while a 38,000dwt open Abidjan was fixed for five to seven months at $12,000, all with redelivery in the Atlantic.

A 37,000dwt open Canakkale was fixed at $18,000 for a trip to Morocco, with option redelivery Israel at $17,500.

A 35,000dwt open Iskenderun was booked for a trip to the Continent at $13,000.

A 27,000dwt and a 32,000dwt, both open Singapore, were fixed for a trip to the Persian Gulf at $7,500 with steel and $9,000 with alumina.

A 38,000dwt open East Australia was booked at $13,500, redelivery Indonesia, with sugar.


Hurricane Michael may be closing Gulf coast ports at present, but the China-US trade war is still the biggest storm affecting US ocean freight prices.

Since early summer, they have motivated many importers to advance orders and beat new tariffs, effectively creating an early start to peak season.

After the current Golden Week lull, they will exert more upward pressure on prices as many importers hit by the latest tranche place advanced orders to get their shipments in before the tariff increases to 25%.

They may soon be having the opposite effect, depressing demand, and price if enough importers switch their sourcing to cheaper countries.

The past three weeks have been the (Golden Week) eye in the (Tariff War) storm.

The two most recent transpacific GRIs were cancelled, so prices have levelled out on both the China/East Asia-North America West Coast and the China/East Asia-North America East Coast lanes.

It's a different story, though, on the China/East Asia-North Europe lane.

With no trade tariffs spurring demand, ocean carriers have had to react to chronic oversupply depressing prices.

First, they cut services, but in an about-turn, three of the largest carriers recently cut their FAK rate. That has sent prices falling.

Over the past four weeks, they've dropped 32%, from $2,201 to $1,486.

The Freightos Baltic Indices reflect weekly spot rates for 40-foot containers based on 12 to 18 million price points collected every week on 12 main shipping trade lanes.

The data includes a headline index - the FBX Global Container Index (FBX) - a weighted average of the 12 underlying route indexes.

This data is published every Sunday. See

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.

For daily freight market reports and assessments, please visit

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