Region: Russian River, Azov / Black Sea, Caspian
Trade: Coaster shipments
According to the official information received from the Administration of Azov Sea ports, the ice restrictions are due to be introduced on December 11, 2017. From then on, calling Azov Sea ports will require an ice class for all vessels. In addition, older than 30 years ships will have to get a special permit from the Russian Register for working in the Azov Sea region during the ice period. As usual, deep-water ports such as Temryuk / Novorossiysk, which are not subject to ice restrictions up until mid-winter, will be in special demand during winter time. Freight rates decrease there at a pace proportional to the worsening of weather/ice conditions.
Ship Owners make every effort to maintain the tendency toward growth in freight rates in the Azov region. One of the most popular ways of doing this is starting to trade a vessel as it is approaching Kerch. In accordance with their expectations, spot tonnage at the moment trades at highest possible prices. However, as practice shows, many Charterers face problems with berthing spot vessels. Therefore impatient Owners have to accept a compromise rate and go into loading ports inconvenient for their fleet, taking into account long waiting time in Yeisk and Taganrog.
In Yeisk, many Charterers experience disruptions in cargo deliveries. There is an opinion that this might be caused by the deficit of hopper cars. Yeisk lacks the technology of grain transshipment from ordinary covered cars. Therefore, as a result of the shortage in this kind of rolling stock, which has occurred lately, less cargo is delivered to Yeisk than it might be. Rostov/Azov/Temryuk provide facilities for transshipments from covered cars – the reason why the aforementioned problem does not exist there.
Ship Owners whose vessels have an ice class continue to prefer short voyages within the Black Sea. Owners unable to work under the ice restrictions are already determined to conclude fixtures for long voyages in order to close the last voyage of the season at Azov Sea’s rates, which sharply exceed Black Sea’s rates.
The conference Global Grain being held on week 46 has gathered a lot of Ship Owners, Charterers and all other people interested in the grain market. Business activity on the market has fallen dramatically during this period, since many decision-makers are participating in the conference and postponing most of decisions until returning from it. As a consequence, the scheme of trading a cargo for a particular vessel does not apply at the moment, and many Charterers are trying to close their old contracts.