Turkey to Asia prices defy slide.
SUPRAMAX owners booked for Turkey to Asia spot trips have defied a slide in rates seen on all other routes in the sector as a dearth of bigger ships left charterers with less available tonnage to choose from.
With so few large modern economical supramax bulk carriers of around 56,000 dwt ready to load in the Mediterranean, owners had been given the chance to push rates up on this specific route.
?In the Mediterranean, it is quite interesting as there is not much in the way of large supramaxes, especially for Suez Canal business, to Middle East Gulf and out to the Far East. People are demanding pretty high money for that, around the low $40,000s,? said one London-based broker.
?But then for the smaller sizes in comparison, it is almost becoming two-tiered now ? as there are more of the small sizes of around 45,000 dwt about they are being taken for a lot less money than the larger ones, at something around the low $30,000s.?
Charter rates for this voyage already command a premium due to transiting the Suez Canal and insurance premiums required to travel via the piracy-ridden Gulf of Aden.
The Baltic Exchange"s Cannakale, Turkey, to Far East route for 52,000 dwt supramaxes has climbed around $1,000 in the last week to reach $39,560 per day.
In contrast, all other supramax rates covered by the Baltic Exchange fell yesterday, with the largest drop on the US Gulf to northern Europe route, which slid $1,800 overnight to $35,425 per day from $48,500 four weeks ago.
?The US Gulf is on its way down. There is nothing really in the way of cargoes there,? said the London broker. ?There is a bit of business back to the UK Continent, but the bulk of business out on fronthaul trips to Asia is just not there.?
Windrose chartered the 2002-built, 52,383 dwt Yasa H Mulla for a voyage from the US Gulf to the east Mediterranean at an even lower rate of $32,000 per day. A slowdown in the bulk carrier market, due to the Chinese New Year holidays, combined with the US grain export season coming to an end and little requirement from charterers, meant the area had become overtonnaged.
Although exports from east coast South America were about to accelerate as the grain season kicked in, many owners of ships in the US Gulf were unlikely to ballast further than north coast South America due to the cost of bunkers needed to travel any further south.
The majority of grain cargoes out of east coast South America were being taken on traditional delivery in West Africa-load in South America-redelivery in Asia voyages, brokers said.
?There is definitely more cargo around. I think people are expecting a ramp up for March, which we are probably starting to see the beginning of now,? said one broker. ?We are optimistic as far as things go tonnage wise. Although there is still a bit around West Africa in east coast South America there is not really a huge amount.?
A handful of supramaxes discharging bagged cement cargoes in West Africa, and ships open in South Africa had been fixed so far this week, he added.
Although it was not a fronthaul route, Eitzen took the 2008-built, 53,800 dwt Davakis G with delivery in Durban for a trip via east coast South America and redelivery on the UK Continent at $21,000 per day.
By comparison, brokers said that for trips to Asia, owners were achieving around $33,000 per day, higher than the Baltic Exchange price on the same route of $30,744 per day.
Fewer ballasters were expected from India, which had put pressure on West Africa rates last month, as there were not enough supramaxes available in Southeast Asia to take iron ore cargoes to China.
Owners with ships open in west coast India were commanding around $24,000 per day to take iron ore to China, whereas the Baltic Exchange east coast India route was around $25,000 per day.
Charterers who were unable to find tonnage in India were taking supramaxes on Pacific round voyages from China at around $17,000 per day in comparison.