10 week: Russian River, Azov Sea, Caspian Sea; Coaster shipments

10 week: Russian River, Azov Sea, Caspian Sea; Coaster shipments

Freight rates in the Azov market has been growing during last two weeks. There is no spot tonnage nowadays, while overall fleet demand increases. As market participants report, the FOB price for grain has fallen so much that it resulted in an uptrend in demand for the commodity from importers. Moreover, the market is supported as well by major Charterers that need to fulfill their contract obligations and cannot derail their programs.

Some part of the Russian-flagged fleet has already begun working on transit and voyages ex river ports. The Bagaevskiy hydro complex, Volgograd lock and Volgo-Don canal are opening on April 1, and river Charterers are showing keen interest toward tonnage with Russian flag. As market analysis reveals, freight rates from Rostov will be growing as a result of the withdrawal of the fleet on the river jobs.

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Many Traders engaged in commerce with Iran are working on scenarios including buying corn in Azov ports with its further transit to the Caspian Sea. Historically the price on corn in that region, which is targeted at Turkey, is substantially lower than that in the Caspian. Taking into account transit rates of the early navigation period, Traders consider such contracts. The problem is that many Ship Owners whose fleet is positioned in the Azov, had relocated it into that region on purpose because of the Iranian sanctions, and only few of them are keen on transit particularly to Iran.

By reports of consignors focused on the Caspian direction, tough weight limitations imposed last year have significantly reduced their opportunities of road cargo delivery from the Volga region to the ports of Astrakhan region. So with the opening of navigation, the increased demand for tonnage, able to be loaded from river ports, is expected there, which can lead to the growth of rates from other sea ports in the region.