News of the freight market as of 26.02.2024

The shipping market in the Black Sea region is experiencing moderate recovery, mainly due to Ukrainian and Russian grain cargoes. Despite the increase in the number of vessels this week, most freight agents are looking to reduce rates. However, shipowners are showing resilience, keeping chartering levels stable.
Besides grain cargoes from Ukrainian ports, demand for other types of agricultural products is growing, especially on routes to Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and Tunisia. Grain and flour are also actively shipped to more remote regions, including Italy, Morocco, France and Spain. In the non-grain segment, transportation of rolled metal products from Ismail to Eastern Greece and clay from Reni to Aliaga is noted.
Shipowners will certainly strive to increase rates in the coming weeks, but it seems difficult without additional stimulus from the main commodity markets. There are no prerequisites for a price rise at the moment.

In the Mediterranean market, the situation remains difficult for shipowners. Lack of new cargoes is combined with the constant growth of available vessels, forcing shipowners to fight for contracts and keeping rates at the same level.
In the fertilizer shipping segment, urea from Egypt to Italy and Eastern Greece is actively traded. The steel market remains depressed, with almost no demand for Turkish steel in North Africa and the European Union, as well as for square billets in Turkey, which has a negative impact on freight rates.

Rates continue to be under pressure in the Azov Sea market due to a slowdown in grain and coal sales from Russia, especially to Turkey. At the same time, the number of available sea and river vessels is increasing, forcing shipowners to adapt to changing conditions and maintain rate levels in a highly competitive environment. Only a slight revival of trade is expected in early March, although market participants expect that any rate increase will be temporary and will not lead to long-term improvement of the situation for shipowners.


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