Significant port congestion in East Coast India

The strength of the Panamax market in the US Gulf Coast is also leading to some stems being moved on cheaper Supramaxes, shipping sources said. Some charterers are cutting grain stems from 58,000 plus/minus 10% to 55,000 mt plus/minus 10% so they can fit on Supramaxes. Shipping sources estimated that Supramax voyage rates are $2-3/mt less than Panamaxes, depending on the size of the stem.

The grain route from Santos, Brazil, to Qingdao was assessed flat at $34/mt on Monday. Tonnage remains tight on East Coast South America but rates have not moved as there were low levels of inquiry, sources said. A shipbroker said there is “not much cargo, it’s all about lack of supply of vessels.”

The number of ballasters toward ECSA has dropped because there are a lot of coal cargoes being worked from Richards Bay, South Africa, to East Coast India, sources said. This is absorbing vessels which would otherwise have gone to ECSA from East Coast India. There is also significant port congestion in East Coast India and some vessels have to wait 14 days, which is tying up a lot of tonnage and restricting supply, sources said.

The Hampton Roads, Virginia, to Rotterdam coal route, basis 70,000 mt, was assessed flat at $11.50/mt. Market sentiment was bullish but sources reported few fresh cargoes in the market. A shipbroker said prompt tonnage on UK-Continent is relatively tight, but all the prompt cargoes being worked on the US East Coast were cleared last week.

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