07-09-2018

US Gulf dry bulk rates steady despite Gordon, Hurricane Florence

Atlantic Panamax and Supramax dry bulk ship operators reported no changes in US Gulf grain freight rates despite the closure overnight of Mississippi River grains terminals because of Tropical Storm Gordon. Gate operations for terminal operators at the Port of New Orleans were closed between 1200 local time Tuesday and 0830 local time Wednesday, while Associated Branch Pilots, who guide ships through the mouth of the Mississippi River at the Southwest Pass, ceased operations from Tuesday until 0600 local time Wednesday, according to the Port of New Orleans’ website.

But while freight rates for Aframax and Panamax tankers climbed Worldscale 22.5 and w12.5, respectively, Tuesday as Gordon closed off tonnage availability, Supramax dry freight trans-Atlantic rates held steady, with the New Orleans-to-Alexandria, Egypt, 60,000 mt, Panamax grains route assessed at $28/mt Wednesday, unchanged.

Similarly, front haul ex-Gulf routes saw no changes in rates, with the New Orleans-to-Kashima, Japan, 50,000 mt Supramax grains route assessed at $47.25/mt, unchanged. As Hurricane Florence was upgraded to a Category 3 storm Wednesday afternoon, the dry bulk market remained calm. “To the best of my knowledge, there’s little to no concern in the market,” one shipowner said. “As hurricane season approaches, storage fills up, so the cargoes are consistent.”

But sources were cautious about the Q4 outlook: “There was a lot of cargo lost last year, so it might not be good for a Q4 market, as charterers simply won’t trade it or bring it to port,” said a shipbroker operating out of the Gulf Coast.

Source: Platts

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