It has been a very slow couple of weeks with few orders circulated in the market and often a long list of interested vessels for each new order. Clinker shipments from the Mediterranean to west Africa have been carried out at very sharp levels with owners taking the lower-paying cargoes and leave the extremely-saturated Mediterranean market, according to shipping broker Clarksons.
Looking ahead, cement and clinker charterers expect to take full advantage of the low market. Some are looking to cover forward cargoes while spot rates are low. Egypt has continued to import significant volumes of clinker and in terms of coal imports, companies are waiting for the effects of the government's cut in gas subsidies to import levels. It is expected that coal imports, likely from South Africa and Mozambique, will increase. Petcoke cargoes out of the US Gulf have also been fixed at competitive levels although their number remains limited in the market.