Export coal shortages could impact on rates

Export coal shortages could impact on rates
Published: 20 March 2008

Coal markets have tended to dominate the news of late with reports of further congestion at Australia’s main export loaders likely to limit volumes for the foreseeable future with one report suggesting a loss of over 2Mt of sales. At the same time, China is contemplating reducing export allocations to around 32Mt in 2008 as its domestic coal production is being switched back into ensuring domestic buyers are given maximum allocations. Last year China exported over 53Mt. Both events likely to push up the price of coal on the international export markets.

Spot Panamax rates drifted downwards in both basins  throughout the week – report shipbrokers Barry Roglaino in Paris. The BPI fell 329 points whilst the four timecharters dropped $2,693 over the week. With the Far East softer, tonnage in South East Asia was picked off for trading via India where the market remained extremely firm.

The Atlantic Panamax sector became very positional leading to lower rates, although owners’ reluctance to send vessel’s East was reflected in firm fronthaul rates. Short period, however, remained at a significant premium to spot, with Chinese charterers taking a modern 75,000 dwt vessel for 5/7 months at US$77,000, delivery Atlantic end-April. For longer term, a 3 year charter with April 2008 delivery was concluded on a BPI type vessel at US$56,000 with Koreans charterers.

The Supamax/Handysize market appeared to  stall last week. Period-hungry Korean charterers were still present but the spot market suffered from a lack of new business. For Supramax tonnage in  the East, local voyage business stood in the mid/high US$50,000s - still an impressive discount compared to the period market where owners were asking  in the low/mid US$60,000s for short to 1 year period.

India remains a hot market for this class of dry bulk tonnage, attracting ballasters from South East Asia or further. Ships open in  Haldia, India have been able to attract US$100,000 for trip business to China. The West Coast was less tight, and rates in the high US$50,000/low US$60,000 were seen. The Atlantic has been on the move although this market also suffered from delays in the South American soya  crop.

Source: Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris