Freight & Bunkers News

Feb 22 - Ukraine exports 600,000 T grain via Romania Feb 1-15, Kyiv says
Ukraine shipped 600,000 metric tons of grain via Romania to Europe in the first half of February, its agriculture ministry said on Wednesday, keeping the same pace of grain transit through Romania as in January. Romanian sea ports have become the main route for Ukrainian food exports after Russia blocked key ports on the Ukrainian coast of the Black Sea. Ukraine also supplies food products to southern European countries by rail via Romania.

Feb 22 - Japan to import 3,140 tons feed wheat via tender
Japan will import 3,140 metric tonnes of feed-quality wheat for livestock use via a simultaneous buy and sell (SBS) auction that closed late on Wednesday, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) said. The ministry had sought 60,000 metric tons of feed wheat and 20,000 tons of feed barley to be loaded by Feb. 28 and arrive in Japan by March 21 in the tender.


Feb 21 - Ukraine SPIKE_FREIGHT weekly report

- As of 19.02, agricultural exports by road amounted to 265 thousand tons, compared to 138 thousand tons in January and 246 thousand tons in December for the same period. The largest share of exports was sunflower oil and sugar. Daily rates of automobile exports began to decline due to a series of blockages of checkpoints by Poland. The daily rate of agricultural products passing through the Polish border decreased by 6 times, namely from 6 thousand tons of cargo per day in early February to 1 thousand tons per day by 19.02. The work of other checkpoints on the border with Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova is carried out without obstacles, which partially compensates for a decrease in the rate of crossing the Polish border.
Freight rates for Western and Central Europe rose due to the need for carriers to travel across the border with Poland.

- In February, the average rate of export shipments by rail through the western borders of Ukraine amounted to 381 wagons per day. While maintaining these rates, the total rail export in February is expected at 800 thousand tons. The reduction of railway freight rates in Europe by almost 30% since January gradually restores the interest of exports by rail. The most popular destinations are Northern Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. The slowdown in exports through seaports has affected the decrease in the average number of wagons moving towards Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea. Over the past week, this figure has decreased from 7,749 cars to 7,140 cars. The average daily discharge capacity of wagons in the ports of Bolshaya Odessa ranges from 1,000 to 1,540 wagons per day. Rates of freight domestic rail transportation in Ukraine decreased to the off-season low. Depending on the rate of export by sea ports, the rates of railway freight in Ukraine can range from 100 to 200 UAH per ton.

- As of 15.02, 3.2 million tons were exported by water transport, including 581 thousand tons through the ports of the Danube, 2.6 million tons through sea ports.
Rates of sea and river freight remained unchanged compared to last week.


Feb 21 - Greek ship attacked in Red Sea by Houthis arrives in Aden with cargo
The Greek-flagged bulk cargo vessel Sea Champion arrived in the southern Yemeni port of Aden on Tuesday after being attacked in the Red Sea in what appeared to have been a mistaken missile strike by Houthi militia, shipping and military sources said.  Shipping risks have escalated due to repeated drone and missile strikes in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab Strait by the Iran-aligned Houthis since November. U.S. and British forces have responded with several strikes on Houthi facilities but have so far failed to halt the attacks.

Feb 21 - Russia says it shipped 200,000 tonnes of free grain to six African countries
Russia's agriculture minister said late on Tuesday that Moscow had completed its initiative of shipping 200,000 metric tonnes of free grain to six African countries, as promised by President Vladimir Putin in July. Russia shipped 50,000 tonnes each to Somalia and the Central African Republic and 25,000 tonnes each to Mali, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe and Eritrea, Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev told Putin during a meeting, according to transcript on the Kremlin's website.


Feb 20 - Russian wheat export prices fell again last week, shipments increased
Russian wheat export prices continued to fall last week amid weakening global prices and some growth in shipments, analysts said. The price of 12.5% protein Russian wheat scheduled for free-on-board (FOB) delivery late March to early was $219 a metric ton, down $5 from the previous week, the IKAR agriculture consultancy reported.

Feb 20 - Ukraine's Feb grain exports 3.2 mln T so far, ministry says
Ukraine has exported almost 3.2 million metric tons of grain so far this month versus 3.3 million exported over the same period a year earlier, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The ministry gave no explanation for the decrease. Ukraine's grain exports in the 2023/24 July-June marketing season have so far fallen to about 27 million tons from 30 million a year earlier, the data showed.


Feb 19 - UK-registered cargo ship reported under attack in Bab al-Mandab Strait, says Ambrey
A UK-registered cargo ship reported being under attack in the Bab al-Mandab Strait off Yemen on Sunday, said British maritime security firm Ambrey, while UK Maritime Trade Operations agency reported crew abandoning a ship off Yemen after an explosion. Ambrey said on Sunday that a Belize-flagged, UK-registered and Lebanese-operated open hatch general cargo ship had reported being under attack in Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Feb 19 - South Korea’s KFA buys 66,000 metric tons corn, traders say
The Korea Feed Association (KFA) in South Korea purchased about 66,000 metric tons of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from South America or South Africa on Friday, European traders said on Saturday. It was purchased by the KFA’s Busan section from trading house ADM at an estimated $239.49 a ton c&f plus a $1.50 a ton surcharge for additional port unloading.


Feb 16 - Egypt's GASC buys 180,000 MT of wheat in tender
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, said on Thursday it had bought 180,000 metric tons of wheat in a tender.The purchase comprised 120,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat and 60,000 tons of Romanian wheat, it said.

Feb 16 - Japan buys 115,035 metric tons of food wheat via tender
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) bought a total of 115,035 metric tons of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in a regular tender that closed on Thursday.Japan, the world's sixth-biggest wheat importer, keeps a tight grip on imports of its second-most important staple after rice, buying a majority of the grain for milling via tenders typically issued three times a month.


Feb 15 - UK and Japan slip into recession (Reuters)

- Britain's economy fell into a recession in the second half of 2023, a tough backdrop for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who has promised to boost growth ahead of an election expected later this year. The GDP contracted by a worse-than-expected 0.3% in the three months to December, official data showed.

- Britain is not alone. Japan also slipped into a recession at the end of last year, losing its title as the world's third-biggest economy to Germany and raising doubts about when the central bank would begin to exit its ultra-loose monetary policy. The GDP fell an annualized 0.4% in the October-December period.


Feb 15 - Ukraine exports 1.6 mln T food cargo by sea and river in Feb 1-9, brokers say
About 1.6 million metric tons of Ukrainian agricultural goods had been exported or declared for future exports from Ukraine's Black Sea and Danube ports in the first nine days of February, brokers said on Wednesday. Spike Brokers, which tracks and publishes export statistics, said 116,000 tons were shipped through the Danube ports and 1.5 million tons through Black Sea ports.

Feb 15 - Jordan buys 60,000 metric tons feed barley in tender
Jordan's state grain buyer has purchased about 60,000 metric tons of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender which closed on Wednesday, European traders said. It was bought at an estimated $219.00 a ton c&f for shipment in the first half of June. The seller was believed to be trading house Dreyfus.

 

Feb 14 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS

- AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov sea market has continued to decline further this week. Most owners have more or less "accepted" the trend and are eager to secure their opening positions in advance. Prices for feedstuffs are the main drivers of the falling rates, with wheat bran pellets, for example, dropping almost usd 30-40 pmt since the beginning of the year. Same picture with meals. 3’k wheat has been fixed at usd 47 pmt fiost ex Rostov (bb) to Marmara for prompt dates.There are not many cargoes shown on the market as they are mainly covered within close owners.

- FAR EAST: The New Year's holidays in China have resulted in low business activity in the market.

- CASPIAN SEA: This week, the anticipation for duty has decreased as predicted. With not much cargo available on the market, the overall rates are decreasing. Inclement weather is impacting fleet operations, causing congestion of ships unloading in the Northern ports of Iran and at the AMR. Vessels are experiencing waiting times of about 2-3 days to enter due to icy conditions in the canal.

- BALTIC SEA: The vessel's operations are severely delayed due to the poor weather conditions in the region. Numerous vessels are currently trapped in ice while attempting to reach Ust-Luga and St. Petersburg, and require assistance from icebreakers.


Feb 14 - Ukraine Weekly SPIKE_FREIGHT report

Sold freight
- railway logistics (grain):
· Drabiv - Southern, Ukraine @ UAH 1,050
- railway logistics (eurohopper):
· Chop - Mon. Italy @ 50€ (April-May)

- The export rate of agricultural products by road in February exceeded similar indicators in January and December. As of 12.02, 184,000 tons were exported by road in February, compared to 57,000 tons in January and 154,000 in December for the same period.
The Ministry of Economy began issuing licenses for the export of sunflower to Bulgaria under the simplified procedure. In the road transport market there are requests for the transportation of sunflower in the direction of Bulgaria. Freight rates in this direction are kept in the range of 65-90€ depending on the type of transport and route. Taking into account the reduced export duty rate to Europe up to 1.8%, sunflower sales to Bulgaria can be a good alternative for the Ukrainian manufacturer on the domestic market. In general, the rates of freight by road in the direction of Europe remain unchanged compared to last week.
In the domestic transport market in Ukraine, rates remain unchanged relative to last week. The rapid reduction of railway transportation rates creates a good balancing effect on the domestic transportation market in competition between road and rail transport.

- According to Ukrzaliznytsia, in January 2024, 14.13 million tons of cargo were transported by Ukrainian railways. In January 2024, export traffic of 7.50 million tons of cargo, which is more by +0.88 million tons or by +13.3% compared with December 2023.
In the structure of export traffic for January 2024, grain cargoes ranked first - 3.37 million tons (44.9%), second place - iron and manganese ore - 2.99 million tons (39.9%), third place - ferrous metals - 0.44 million tons (5.9%).

- Freight rates by rail for transportation by Ukraine have been reduced from 3$ to 7$ per ton depending on the direction.

- The European market of carriers continues to adjust rates in all directions, approaching the cost price. The cost of transportation by grain carriers from Chop to the North of Italy is 38-40€ per ton. With such rates, the land export market becomes significantly competitive with respect to the sea. At 09.02 the following volumes were sent and scheduled for export by water transport in February: through the ports of the Danube - 116 thousand tons, through sea ports - 1.5 million tons. Traders slow down export activity because of the continuing decline in commodity prices in the world.

- Freight rates both sea and river transport remained unchanged compared to last week.


Feb 14 - Ukraine on track to export all 2023 grain, says Britain
Ukraine is on track to export all grain from its 2023 harvest despite Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports and infrastructure, according to Britain's foreign office, but the United Nations warns that the Black Sea export situation remains fragile. Ukraine harvested about 80 million tons of grain and oilseeds in 2023, including an exportable surplus of about 50 million tons in the 2023/24 July-June season, the country's government has said.

Feb 14 - Port of Antwerp disrupted by Belgian farmers' protests
Operations at the port of Antwerp, one of Europe's biggest container ports, were seriously impacted on Tuesday as hundreds of farmers on tractors blocked the roads around the port to demand better pay and working conditions, officials said. The protest follows a large number of similar actions by angry farmers in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and beyond, as farmers also demand looser environmental rules and better protection against cheap imports.


Feb 13 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 11% to $4,859/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) climbed 3% to $6,589/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) fell 8% to $4,697/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 7% to $5,758/FEU.

- Pressure on ocean operations continued to ease last week as the pre-Lunar New Year rush came to an end, more empty containers arrived back at export hubs, and schedules stabilize as carriers add vessels to accommodate diverted lanes with longer distances to cover.
- A poll of logistics professionals who attended our recent Red Sea Crisis Update webinar last week found 80% think the worst of the impact on container traffic and rates is behind us, with a third expecting disruption levels and ocean rates to decline in the coming weeks.
Ocean rates from Asia to N. Europe and the Mediterranean both dipped about 7% last week and are 15% lower than their late January peaks as conditions improve and demand decreases. Prices to N. America continued to climb last week, though not as sharply as in January, with daily rates so far this week showing some leveling off.
- Before the Red Sea crisis started, overcapacity from sustained fleet growth had been the big story in ocean freight and the main driver of slumping rates. But diversions away from the Suez Canal have carriers using more ships to adjust to longer transits and keep to their weekly departure schedules, which has absorbed much of that otherwise excess capacity. The need for more active capacity saw the number of idle large ships drop to zero last week, and has even led to a rebound in the charter market.
- Carriers had anticipated that the knock-on effects of shifting capacity to Red Sea lanes would be enough to push rates up on non-Suez trade as well. Transatlantic prices did climb 25% last week to $1,500/FEU, which is significant, but is still below profitable levels for carriers and well short of the $5k/FEU GRIs announced last month by some carriers.
But even with the Red Sea diversions soaking up capacity and N. America demand expected to grow relative to last year and to 2019, overcapacity looms. Maersk estimates that a reopening of the Red Sea in the near term would lead to a sharp decrease in rates as supply would outstrip demand, while, if diversions continue, rates will nonetheless fall gradually throughout the year as new capacity continues to enter the market.
More carriers are resuming Panama Canal transits as conditions there have stabilized and will hopefully improve with the start of the rainy season in May – another factor that should mitigate the Red Sea crisis impact on N. American ocean trade.

Feb 13 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices decreased 35% to $3.91/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices increased 13% to $3.51/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices fell 1% to $2.03/kg.

In air cargo, volumes increased in late January on pre-LNY demand as well as some shift to air due to the Red Sea crisis.  An increase in sea-air option demand has pushed Freightos Air Index rates from Dubai to some European hubs up 35% since the start of the year. Improvements in ocean operations and the arrival of LNY though saw China - N. America rates fall sharply last week to less than $4/kg.


Feb 13 - South Korea’s KFA bought 68,000 metric tons corn in private deal
The Korea Feed Association (KFA) in South Korea purchased about 68,000 metric tons of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from South America or South Africa in a private deal on Feb. 8 without issuing an international tender, European traders said. It was believed to have been purchased by the KFA’s Incheon section from trading house Viterra at an estimated $240.99 a ton c&f for arrival in South Korea around June 10.

Feb 13 - Yemen's Houthis strike cargo ship bound for Iran, causing minor damage
Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis fired two missiles on Monday at an Iran-bound cargo ship in the Red Sea, causing minor damage to the vessel but no injuries, U.S. military officials said. The early morning strikes appeared to be the first time the Houthis have targeted an Iran-bound vessel since starting attacks on international shipping in solidarity with Palestinians over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, shipping sources said.


Feb 12  - More grain ships diverted from Red Sea due to Houthi attacks
More ships carrying grain were diverted from the Suez Canal to sailings around the Cape of Good Hope this week as concern about attacks on vessels in the Red Sea continued, shipping analysts said on Friday. "Another 13 vessels were diverted this week taking the total cargo diverted away from the Red Sea route to around 5.2 million metric tons of grains in about 90 ships since the attacks started late last year," said Ishan Bhanu, lead agricultural commodities analyst at data provider and analyst Kpler.

Feb 12  - Brazil's coffee exports jump 45.4% to January record - Cecafe
Brazil's green coffee exports jumped 45.4% in January compared with a year earlier, industry group Cecafe said on Friday, hitting a record high for the month. Farmers shipped abroad a total of 3.67 million 60-kilo bags of green coffee in January.


Feb 09 - Japan buys 136,321 metric tons of food wheat via tender
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) bought a total of 136,321 metric tons of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada, and Australia in a regular tender that closed on Thursday. Japan, the world's sixth-biggest wheat importer, keeps a tight grip on imports of its second-most important staple after rice, buying a majority of the grain for milling via tenders typically issued three times a month.

Feb 09 - Jordan tenders to buy up to 120,000 metric tons wheat
Jordan's state grain buyer has issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 metric tons of milling wheat which can be sourced from optional origins, European traders said on Wednesday. The deadline for submission of price offers in the tender is Feb. 13.


Feb 08 - Tunisia buys about 100,000 metric tons durum wheat in tender
Tunisia's state grains agency is believed to have purchased about 100,000 metric tons of durum wheat in an international tender on Wednesday, European traders said. Three 25,000 ton consignments were bought from trading house Casillo at $414.68, $415.49 and $417.42 all a ton cost and freight (c&f) included, traders said.

Feb 08 - Iran's SLAL said to have bought about 50,000 T soymeal in tender
Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL is believed to have purchased about 50,000 metric tons of soymeal expected to be sourced from Brazil in an international tender which closed on Wednesday, European traders said. It was believed to have been bought at about 483 euros ($520.0) a ton c&f. The tender had sought up to 120,000 tons of soymeal.


Feb 08 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov Sea market continues to weaken this week due to several factors, including the high key interest rate of the Turkish central bank, making trading difficult, and an increase in cargoes from Ukraine reaching the Turkish market. As a result, buyers are lowering prices daily, forcing charterers to also reduce the freight levels they are willing to pay. This decrease in trading activity is not only limited to the Azov Sea, as European markets are also experiencing low activity. Due to the high volatility of the Azov Sea freight market, owners are choosing to wait until closer to opening dates to fix, in the hopes that freight levels may suddenly increase, as seen numerous times in the last year. However, with current trends in place, it is
expected that freight levels will continue to drop further.

CASPIAN SEA: The active excitement in the market this week led to a temporary stop in the fall in freight. Some exporters, in an attempt to send their goods spot, raised rates to $70 from Astrakhan. Winter temperatures continue to affect the Caspian Sea, creating challenging conditions in the AMR channel. Additionally, a sea storm has resulted in delays at the unloading ports.

FAR EAST: There were no changes in the Far East this week.

BALTIC SEA: Baltic sea market is getting weaker.


Feb 07 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 7% to $4,367/FEU
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) increased 4% to $6,373/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) fell 7% to $5,097/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 4% to $6,212/FEU.

- Tensions continue to rise in the Middle East, with ongoing US and UK strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, continued Houthi attacks on Red Sea traffic, deadly Iran-backed attacks on US sites in the region, and US retaliations in Syria and Iraq.
But With the majority of container carriers already avoiding the Red Sea, these further escalations in geopolitical conflicts are unlikely to have an additional impact on the container market.

- Pressure from pre-Lunar New Year demand for ocean freight is easing, and carriers continue to make progress in adjusting networks and activating excess capacity to adapt to the longer journeys. These factors are leading to improvements in space and equipment availability at Asian export hubs, smooth operations at most major ports and few signs of congestion.

- This easing of demand and operations challenges is likewise leading to less pressure on ocean rates. Asia to N. Europe and Mediterranean prices declined slightly last week to $5,000/FEU and $6,200/FEU respectively. Asia to N. America ocean rates increased 7% to the West Coast last week, past $4K/FEU and 4% to the East Coast to the $6k/FEU level.  

- Though demand may increase somewhat after the holiday lull, rates are likely to decline by late February or early March as ocean freight enters its slow season and carriers will have had time to fully adjust capacity and networks on the diverted lanes.  Prices should be expected to remain higher and transit times longer than normal until Red Sea traffic resumes.

Feb 07 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices increased 14% to $6.06/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 1% to $3.12/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices increased 4% to $2.06/kg.

Disruptions to ocean freight has led to some shift to air cargo as reflected in increased air volumes on some lanes recently.  Freightos Air Index data show China - N. America air cargo rates climbed 14% last week to $6.06/kg, and are slightly higher than in early December.  While China - N. Europe prices dipped last week, Middle East – to N. Europe prices are still 20% higher than in mid-January, possibly reflecting some ocean to sea-air shift. Air cargo demand should also ease as LNY begins and Red Sea-driven air demand should subside as well as ocean operations continue to stabilize.


Feb 07 - Ukraine weekly SPIKE_FREIGHT report

Sold freight
- railway logistics (grain):
· Drabiv - Southern, Ukraine @ UAH 1,300
- automotive logistics (dump truck):
· Noviska - Southern, Ukraine @1'740 UAH (sunflower)

- As of 05.02, exports of agricultural products by road in February amounted to 77 thousand tons, compared to 8 thousand tons in January and 63 thousand tons in December for the same period. The restoration of throughput of most border crossings has contributed to an increase in export rates in February.

 

For the period from 01.02 to 05.02, the average daily rate for the passage of export goods by road through all border crossings was 15,400 tons per day, compared to 1,500 tons in January and 12,630 tons in December. A significant share of export shipments came to the border with Poland, where the average daily export by road increased to 5,752 tons of cargo per day.
The rates of freight from western Ukraine towards Italy and Germany decreased relative to last week. The main reason is the increase in imports from these countries to Ukraine.
The rate of shipments in the direction of seaports is slowed down due to lower prices for agricultural products. Road carriers are forced to reduce the cost of transportation to support the economy and the pace of sale by farmers.

- Agroexport by rail across the western borders of Ukraine is kept at the level of last week. Rates of freight in Europe are gradually reduced for the period March-June. Lower sales prices in major markets for central and southern Europe are forcing carriers to revise rates towards reduction. There are requests for forwards in the direction of Europe, subject to fixing the railway freight in Europe. For the effective sale of Ukrainian products of the new crop in the markets of Northern Italy freight rate from Chop should be from 45€ to 50€ per ton.
Railway freight rates across Ukraine also continued a slight decrease compared to last week.

- As of 02.02, the following volumes were shipped and scheduled for export by water transport in February: through the ports of the Danube - 153 thousand tons, through sea ports - 1.4 million tons. Export activity is declining against the backdrop of falling prices and low demand in the main sales markets. The growth of freight on the ships of the class "panamax" in the direction of Asian markets reduces the attractiveness of this direction of sales of Ukrainian products.


Feb 07 - Jordan buys estimated 60,000 metric tons wheat in tender
Jordan's state grains buyer purchased about 60,000 metric tons of hard milling wheat to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender on Tuesday, European traders said. It was believed to have been bought from trading house CHS all at an estimated $262.95 a ton cost and freight (c&f) included for shipment in the second half of April, they said.

Feb 07 - Tunisia tenders to buy 100,000 metric tons durum wheat
Tunisia's state grains agency has issued an international tender to purchase about 100,000 metric tons of durum wheat, European traders said on Tuesday. The origin was optional. The deadline for submission of price offers in the tender is Wednesday, Feb. 7.


Feb 06 - China's export of aluminium covered by EU carbon tax down 30% in 2023
The volume of aluminium product exported by China to the European Union which was covered by the bloc's carbon border tariff fell 30% in 2023, the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA) said on Monday. The EU launched the first phase of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) in October, as it tries to stop more polluting foreign products from undermining its green transition.

Feb 06 - Iran's SLAL tenders for 120,000 T barley and 120,000 T soymeal
Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL has issued international tenders to purchase at least 120,000 metric tons of animal feed barley and 120,000 tons of soymeal, European traders said on Monday. The deadline for submission of price offers is Wednesday, Feb. 7, they said.


Feb 05 - Turkey to discuss 'new mechanism' for Ukraine Black Sea grain exports with Russia - minister
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will discuss a new mechanism to allow Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his upcoming visit to Turkey, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Sunday. Putin is expected to visit Turkey on Feb. 12 to meet Erdogan, a Turkish official previously said, in what will be the Russian leader's first trip to a NATO ally since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Feb 05 - Ukraine's agri exports via alternative Black Sea corridor at 14.3 mln T
Ukraine exported 14.3 million metric tons of agricultural products via its alternative Black Sea corridor in the last six months, Deputy Prime Minister Oleksander Kubrakov said on Saturday. Kubrakov said more than 660 ships had exported more than 20 million metric tonnes of cargo of all types to 32 countries since the corridor was set up in August 2023, after Russia quit a U.N.-backed Black Sea grain initiative.


Feb 03 - Ocean Freight Comments from U.S Wheat Org.

- The dry bulk ocean freight market has been a yo-yo. Much like the toy with a string wrapped around an axis, when released, gravity takes over and as the string reaches its maximum it reverses course and winds itself back up. That has been the pattern with dry bulk ocean freight rates during the first month of 2024. The closely watched Baltic Dry Index for example, started 2024 where it left off with 2023, with gravity pulling it lower. But it seemed it found a bottom and tried to wind back up before losing ground as gravity pulled it lower, ending January down by more than one-third for the month to an index of 1,398. Admittedly, the index is more than double where it was one year ago.

- Despite the terrorist attacks on vessels plying the Red Sea, leading vessel owners and operators to use alternative longer routes such as sailing around the Cape of Good Hope, dry bulk ocean freight rates are responding more to weakened demand. And news out of China is not encouraging with manufacturing marking its fourth monthly contraction while housing is in disarray. China is experiencing deflationary pressures and weakened demand for its products and goods that need to be shipped, ergo, less raw ingredients to manufacture such products. And China will be celebrating its New Year starting February 10 through February 20, historically a slower period for vessel demand, which will further exacerbate the situation


Feb 02 - Dry bulk trade unlikely to see serious impact from Red Sea crisis (AgriCensus)

- The dry bulk freight sector is expected to escape the serious impact of fighting around the internationally important shipping lanes of the Red Sea, freight sources have told Agricensus Friday. The key route has been under siege since the Yemen-based Houthi movement began to target vessels with missiles late last year, causing some significant freight operators and energy majors to review their operations and transit plans for the region.

- Over two dozen vessels have been struck by Houthi missile attacks in the Red Sea since the crisis began, leading to American and British strikes against Yemen and a naval force sailing into the Red Sea. The ongoing crisis has not had a serious impact on the bulk market and sources do not expect it to, despite serious disruption for containers and oil tankers. This is partly because fewer dry bulk cargoes rely on the Suez Canal for transit, and so fewer are likely to be forced to reroute.

- One source suggested that only 4.5% of the global bulk trade annually passes through the canal.
“The whole rerouting could have around an increase of 1% on bulk tonne mile demand”, they said, “compared with containers of around 8% and 5.5% for tankers”.
Suez Canal Authority data for 2019 showed that the bulk sector represented only 13.2% of all tonnage that passed through the canal and 22.5% of all ships for that whole year.

- Furthermore, fewer bulkers that do transit have rerouted.
Daily bulker transits through the Suez Canal fell around 19% from December 24 to January 23, compared to a 55% fall in container transits, according to recent index data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). This reflects that a larger proportion of dry bulk shipping may be considered safer as it is not linked to Israeli or American allied countries whom the Houthis have said they will target.  
“Since a large part of the Suez bulker traffic would be Russian cargo ex-Black Sea - which are less affected generally for political reasons - this is another reason why dry bulk is less affected than some of the other segments”, Roar Adland of SSY told Agricensus.

- Sources have also suggested that Ukrainian shipping is unlikely to be diverted.
“I have seen a few vessels refusing to go via Red Sea but majority of Greek and Chinese owners that have been trading bsea [Black Sea] and Baltic continue sailing”, one source said.
Ships traveling in the Black Sea are already working in a war zone and may even be under less threat in the Red Sea where Ukrainian ships have so far not been attacked. Given this, shipowners seem to prefer to push through the Red Sea than to reroute around Africa with much higher costs.  

- Freight indications for vessels traveling from Ukrainian ports to China have changed little in recent weeks, and indeed the Agricensus assessments for this route have fallen to $62.60/mt this week from around $70/mt when the crisis began in December.

- Certain parts of dry bulk have been more adversely affected.
XClusiv Shipbrokers suggested in their weekly note that 3.9 million tons of grain cargo had chosen alternative routes, out of 7.7 million mt annually that uses the Suez Canal. Some analysts had also suggested that it could prove to be a problem for US-based cargoes, where some US Gulff exporters had been using the Suez route to avoid delays at the Panama Canal and still access Asian destination markets. Some sources also said that some French wheat cargoes bound for China had been forced to go around the Cape.

- Less direct effects may also come to impact dry bulk.
The recent market monitor by AMIS noted that shipping costs are influenced by the cost of crude oil, and energy prices could increase due to tankers being forced to reroute or through further escalation in the Middle East.


Feb 02 - Turkey sells 150,000 metric tons durum in export tender - traders
Turkish state grain board TMO is believed to have provisionally sold 150,000 metric tons of durum wheat in an export tender for the same volume on Thursday, European traders said. The highest price was assessed at $404.80 a ton FOB, traders said.

Feb 02 - Taiwan buys 89,650 metric tons US-origin milling wheat
The Taiwan Flour Millers' Association purchased an estimated 89,650 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in a tender on Friday, European traders said. The purchase involved various wheat types for shipment from the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast in two consignments.


Feb 01 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: After another week of recession in the commodity market, the Azov Sea freight market is also experiencing a similar trend. Sellers are expressing concern over the significant daily drops in prices in Turkey, making it very difficult to sell. The unstable exchange rate of the Turkish lira is also impacting the market. Ukrainian grains are competing with Russian grains on the Turkish market, further reducing prices. Additionally, market players are encountering payment difficulties between Russia and Turkey, as banks are taking precautionary measures to avoid potential sanctions by blocking transactions to and from Russian companies. Furthermore, the presence of ice in the Azov and Rostov ports is causing some owners to avoid these ports and instead opt for the ice-free port of Yeisk.

CASPIAN SEA: Freight rates to the northern ports of Iran are still dropping, and the heavy ice conditions at the VKMSK exit are making the situation even worse. Exporters are show activity in the business due to the rising prices of corn.

FAR EAST: The region has seen a decline in grain export activity. The market is supported by shipments of coal, container transportation and general cargo.

BALTIC SEA: The Baltic sea region continues to firm up slowly this week.


Feb 01 - Thai rice export volumes seen down 14.4% in 2024 on lower production
Thailand expects to export 7.5 million metric tons of rice in 2024, down 14.38% year-on-year, due to lower production and increased competition, the commerce ministry said. Rice production is expected to drop 5.87% in 2024, impacted by the El Nino weather phenomenon, the ministry said in a statement.

Feb 01 - Iran's SLAL said to have bought about 200,000 T soymeal in tender - traders
Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL is believed to have purchased about 200,000 metric tons of soymeal expected to be sourced from Argentina and Brazil in international tenders which closed on Tuesday, European traders said on Wednesday. No purchase was initially reported of 120,000 tons of feed barley also sought in the tenders.


Jan 31 - Ukraine Agri SPIKE_FREIGHT weekly Report

- As of January 29, exports of agricultural products by road in January amounted to 293 thousand tons, compared to 374 thousand tons in December and 451 thousand tons in November. The main reason for the decrease in export volumes was the low traffic activity between 01 and 15 January and the restoration of throughput at some border crossings.
The average daily rate for passing cars through checkpoints in January was as follows: with Poland: 3180 tons per day, with a total monthly volume of 92 thousand tons; with Romania: 3074 tons and 89 thousand tons; with Slovakia: 631 tons and 18 thousand tons; with Hungary: 1572 tons and 45 thousand tons; with Moldova: 1667 tons per day, with a total monthly volume of 48 thousand tons.

 

The rapid drop in prices for agricultural products has led to an increase in spot shipments by road in the direction of ports, which led to queues lasting up to 7 days of discharge at some terminals of Bolshaya Odessa. The cost of transport by road remained unchanged compared to last week.

- Agroexport by rail through the western borders of Ukraine is gradually increasing. The average daily rate of delivery of cargo increased to 403 wagons per day per month. There is also an increase in the number of EU trains that load and arrange cargo for export in Ukraine through dry ports. The estimated total volume of exports of agricultural products for January by rail through Western borders is expected at 700 thousand tons.
- JSC "Ukrzaliznytsia" founded the company UZ Cargo Poland to provide a range of international transportation services in Romania and Poland.
- In the direction of the ports of Greater Odessa, the average daily number of cars on the road has increased, and now this figure is 8192 cars. The average daily load capacity of wagons in the Black Sea ports increased to 1540 wagons per day.
- In the direction of the port of Izmail, there is an increase in the activity of shipments, which led to an increase in the queue of cars in this direction from 586 cars to 649 cars. The average daily rate of unloading wagons with grain in the port of Izmail is -103 cars per day.
- Railway freight rates in Ukraine continue to decline.
- Rates of rail freight in Europe for the period April-August are discussed at 45-55€ depending on the direction.

- As of 28.01, shipments for export by water transport in January amounted to: 439 thousand tons were shipped through the ports of the Danube, and 62 thousand tons are planned to be shipped in January; 2.5 million tons were shipped by sea ports, and 874 thousand tons are planned to be shipped in January. Depending on the pace of shipment, total exports by water in January are expected to be in the range of 3 and 3.8 million tons, which is significantly lower than the figure of 6.1 million tons in December.
Freight rates by water began to strengthen, and exporters are actively preparing programs for March and April.


Jan 31 - South Korea’s FLC buys about 133,000 metric tons of corn
South Korea's Feed Leaders Committee purchased about 133,000 metric tons of corn to be sourced optionally from the United States, South America or South Africa in an international tender on Tuesday, European traders said. The corn was purchased in two consignments, the purchase was above the nominal tender volume of 69,000 tons.

Jan 31 - South Korean mills buy 86,200 T wheat from the US
A group of South Korean flour mills bought an estimated 86,200 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in an international tender on Tuesday, European traders said. The purchase involved several different wheat types and was all bought on an FOB basis for shipment in April and May.


Jan 30 - Russian wheat export prices continued decline amid high supply in the Black Sea region
Russian wheat export prices continued to decline last week amid oversupply pressure in the Black Sea region, but export volumes have gone up, analysts said. The price of 12.5% protein Russian wheat scheduled for free-on-board (FOB) delivery in the first half of March was $235 per metric ton, down $3 from the previous week, the IKAR agriculture consultancy reported.

Jan 30 - Ukraine to punish firms for violating farm exports rules to Eastern Europe
Ukraine on Monday said it has tightened rules related to certain food exports, imposing a six-month trading ban for any companies violating the regulations, to ease tensions with bordering countries. The EU suspended import duties, quotas and trade defence measures for imports from Ukraine in June 2022 to support its economy after Russia's invasion.


Jan 29 - Argentina gets China OK for wheat exports for first time
Chinese customs authorities have included Argentine companies in its list of those approved to export wheat to China for the first time, a statement by the Argentine government said on Friday, potentially opening up sales to the huge Asian market. Argentina is a major wheat producer and exporter globally, though its previous harvest was battered by a drought, leaving few stocks for export.

Jan 29 - More grain ships divert from Red Sea this week after attacks
More ships carrying grain were diverted from the Suez Canal to sailings around the Cape of Good Hope this week after attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, shipping analysts said on Friday. “Another 16 vessels were confirmed diverted this week, taking the total grain cargoes diverted to some 3.9 million tons, up from 3.0 million tons last week, said Ishan Bhanu, lead agricultural commodities analyst at data provider and analysts Kpler.


Jan 26 - South Africa's Richards Bay coal exports hit three-decade low
South Africa's Richards Bay Coal Terminal on Thursday said it exported 47.21 million tons of coal in 2023, down 6.2% year-on-year, the lowest level since 1992 as the country's freight rail crisis continues to throttle mineral shipments. Transnet, South Africa's state-owned freight rail and port operator, has struggled to haul bulk commodities including coal due to the shortage of locomotives and spares, as well as cable theft and vandalism of its infrastructure.

Jan 26 - Mexico remains loyal US corn buyer with record haul despite dispute - Braun
The United States has been losing corn export business to Brazil as the South American country continues expanding its output, though top customer Mexico has secured a record volume of U.S. corn for shipment this year. That is despite an active dispute between the United States and Mexico over Mexico’s proposal to curb genetically modified corn imports, which if enforced to the most radical extent could severely dent U.S. corn exports.


Jan 25 - Ukraine's Black Sea grain export success tested by Red Sea crisis - Reuters News
Ukraine has managed to boost its Black Sea grain exports to a level not seen since before Russia's invasion, although the Red Sea shipping crisis poses a new challenge to its crucial agricultural trade. Kyiv's success in replacing a UN-backed Black Sea export deal with its own shipping scheme has brought relief for Ukrainian farmers and importing countries while representing a naval breakthrough for Ukraine's military as a land counteroffensive has stalled.

Jan 25 - South Korea’s NOFI buys estimated 136,000 T corn in tender
Leading South Korean animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) bought an estimated 136,000 metric tons of animal feed corn in an international tender on Wednesday, European traders said. The corn was expected to be sourced optionally from the United States, South America or South Africa.


Jan 25 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: During the past few weeks, the Azov Sea market has experienced significant changes. Currently, there is a prevailing trend of rate firming up this week. Owners claim to see high usd 50's pmt fiost bss ex Rostov to Marmara for usual 3/5'k wheat parcels and feel right to fix at above usd 60 pmt fiost. The market is being influenced by the weakening Turkish lira, and it may take some time for market players to adapt to this. Owners prefer to wait as much as possible these days to fix their vessels as each day might bring difference.

FAR EAST: The market remains relatively unchanged, but severe weather in the region is impacting railway infrastructure and ports. Train and ship schedules are being disrupted, leading to significant delays in shipping times.

CASPIAN SEA: The Caspian market is experiencing significant strain. There is a continued decrease in freight rates due to a decrease in grain shipments from Russian ports. Currently, rates in Astrakhan are in the mid to high 60's. As the situation at the port of Makhachkala improves, rates are declining at a slower pace, with owners requesting rates around usd 60 pmt fiost.

BALTIC SEA: The Baltic Sea market is gradually strengthening as the ice thickens in the eastern and northern parts of the Baltic.


Jan 24 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index Weekly Report

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 15% to $2,966/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) increased 19% to $5,094/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 15% to $5,492/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) increased 25% to $6,773/FEU.

Though US and UK strikes on Houthi positions continue this week, so do Houthi attacks on Red Sea vessels, with President Biden stating that the intensified efforts have not yet succeeded to provide deterrence. As diversions away from the Red Sea continue just two and a half weeks before Lunar New Year, and carriers are still working to adjust their sailing speeds and add extra vessels to accommodate the longer routes, ocean freight disruptions and cost increases may be reaching their peak.

- Empty container shortages in some Asian export hubs are posing a challenge to shippers eager to move goods before the holiday slowdown. Robert Katchatryan, CEO of freight forwarder FreightRight, reports that, last week, equipment shortages were already noticeable in Ningbo, where “alongside specialized equipment, even the regular 40’ and HC containers were becoming limited.”
Other shippers, hoping that rates and disruptions will ease after LNY, are canceling orders and causing problems for exporters. Despite reported disruptions to schedules and some vessel bunching at Asian hubs, congestion does not seem to be a serious problem yet, with most N. American ports already reporting that they’ve closed the gaps in arrivals due to diverted vessels or expect to do so soon.

- Ocean rates increased 15-25% on the major ex-Asia tradelanes last week, with Asia - N. America West Coast prices nearing the $3k/FEU mark, rates to the East Coast and N. Europe surpassing $5k/FEU and prices to the Mediterranean climbing to almost $6,700/FEU. But as West Coast daily rates so far this week are approaching $4k/FEU and East Coast prices are up at the $6k/FEU mark, Asia to N. Europe and Mediterranean daily rates have mostly leveled off.

 

- Congestion, shifts of capacity to Suez Canal lanes, and equipment shortages may not be impacting non-Red Sea lanes as much as carriers had anticipated, as transatlantic rates have yet to climb and some carriers are postponing planned GRIs and surcharges until February.

 

- In another positive development for ocean freight, though total Panama Canal transits for all sectors hit a new low in December as many bulkers and tankers are taking alternate routes, container traffic – prioritized via advance bookings – has been impacted the least, with most services continuing to use the canal.

Jan 24 - Air rates - Freightos Air index Weekly Report

- China - N. America weekly prices decreased 10% to $4.8/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 6% to $3.34/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices increased 5% to $1.94/kg.

- Ocean delays and shortages due to the Red Sea crisis are reportedly starting to shift some ex-Asia ocean volumes to rail and air cargo alternatives. And though Freightos Air Index data shows that air cargo rates from China to N. Europe and N. America have eased since the start of the year, prices from South Asia to N. America which have increased 12% since the start of the year and rates from the Middle East – important for sea-air options – to N. Europe climbed 13% last week, possibly reflecting some ocean to air shift.


Jan 24 - Ukraine Weekly SPIKE_FREIGHT report

Sold freight
- railway logistics (eurohopper):
· Chop - Mon. Italy @ 55€
· Chop - Mon. Germany @ 60€

- Agroexport by road amounted to 184 thousand tons as of 15.01, compared to 292 thousand tons in December and 355 thousand tons in November.
The average daily rate for passing cars through checkpoints with Poland and Romania has recovered to the level of more than 5 thousand tons of agricultural products per day. The checkpoints on the border with Slovakia are gradually rising to the average daily rate of 1.5 thousand tons per day, and with Hungary up to 2.5 thousand tons per day.
Since 01.01, road tolls in Europe have risen in several European countries at once: Poland - rates have risen to 15%; Belgium - The Government of Wallonia has raised rates per kilometer; Germany - an increase in tariffs up to 80% now, taking into account CO2 emissions; Austria - rates have increased to 8%, taking into account CO2 emissions; Hungary - rates have increased to 40%, taking into account CO2 emissions.
We observe a decline in freight from western Ukraine to Bulgaria. The Italian rates remain at the same level with minor changes due to the unpopularity of export destinations and the rising cost of using autobahns.

- Agroexport by rail across the western borders of Ukraine is kept at the level of the average daily rate of delivery of goods in 399 wagons per day. The share of shipments by European trains across the Western borders has increased to 75%. Total export in January by rail through Western borders is expected at 700 thousand tons, while maintaining the current pace of shipment.
In the direction of the ports of Greater Odessa there is an increase in the average daily number of cars on the road. Over the past week, this figure has increased to 7,326 cars. The average daily discharge capacity of wagons in the Black Sea ports ranges from 1,250 to 1,500 wagons per day.
Railway freight rates in Ukraine are gradually decreasing. The low activity of farmers and traders, due to lower world prices for grain and oilseeds, has caused a decrease in the demand for transportation.
There is also a decrease in freight rates in Europe to 20%. The Northern Italy freight was already sold at 55€, and 60€ to German ports. With the expectation of the coming spring is expected to increase the supply of rail cars in Europe.

- Export shipments by water transport remain stable. As of 19.01, 285 thousand tons were exported through the ports of the Danube, and another 170 thousand tons are scheduled for shipment in January. 1.9 million tons have already been shipped through seaports, and 1.7 million tons are planned for January. Depending on the "weather conditions", some of the planned volumes can be postponed to February.
Rates of freight by water transport under pressure and are subject to minor adjustments. Exporters are restrained in requests due to lower sales prices in world markets.
Rates in the direction of China have increased by the cost of insurance against the risks associated with the Red Sea .


Jan 24 - EU to allow wider measures to control Ukraine grain imports
The European Commission is looking into ways of allowing eastern EU member states to restrict farm imports from Ukraine as it extends trade liberalisation with Kyiv for a further year to June 2025. The EU has suspended import duties, quotas and trade defence measures for imports from Ukraine since June 2022 to support its economy after Russia's invasion.

Jan 24 - Fortescue faces rare delays for China iron ore customs clearance
At least two iron ore cargoes from the world's No.4 supplier Fortescue Metals Group are facing unusual customs delays at north China's Caofeidian port due to inspections for solid waste, sources with knowledge of the matter said. The cargoes were in two shipments totalling roughly 400,000 metric tons, the sources said, worth around $55 million, though only the portions earmarked for portside sale by Fortescue after arrival face delay, while volumes already sold were little affected.


Jan 23 - Australian meat exports disrupted by port dispute and Red Sea tensions (IHSmarkit)

- Logistical issues threaten Australia’s ability to take full advantage of gaps on global meat markets
- Ongoing port dispute compounding stresses caused by Red Sea shipping crisis
- Ship carrying live cattle and sheep told to return to Australia due to MidEast security threats

After a strong year for Australian meat and livestock exports, trade is now being hampered by the twin challenges of Red Sea tensions and port disputes within Australia itself.

In 2023, Australian beef exports rose 27% y/y to 1.08 million metric tons, the highest figure since 2019. Exports of both lamb and mutton were the highest ever at 326,014 metric tons and 209,580 metric tons, respectively, according to data from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). MLA Global Supply Analyst Tim Jackson says exports are likely to lift further as Australia benefits from increased export supplies at a time when US beef production is on the decline.

In the short term however, Australian exporters are having to wrestle with challenges posed by ongoing industrial action across Australia’s sea freight terminals.

Port dispute
The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) is calling for government action to address the impacts of a dispute between DP World and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
“This dispute has severely disrupted the ability to trade perishable goods, particularly meat. The inability to get containers moving through ports and the lack of access to shipping slots has hamstrung Australian meat exporters and added unnecessary costs,” said AMIC CEO Patrick Hutchinson
“This situation is creating disruption up and down the supply chain and compounding other stresses to global shipping, such as the Red Sea shipping crisis, ultimately resulting in significant impacts to the trade operations of Australian meat and smallgoods processors.

A recent AMIC member survey on the impacts of the dispute revealed that exporters need to consistently remove containers from terminals due to over month-long delays at ports, resulting in shelf-life expirations for chilled meat consignments. At the same time, meat processing and exporting businesses are experiencing excess inventory due to being unable to load out product caused by vessel omissions and delays.

AMIC members say this is pushing up the cost of exporting, while noting that a lack of imported inputs is also leading to potential manufacturing shutdowns.
Red Sea tensions

This disruption is adding to problems created by tensions in the Middle East, where the threat of Houthi attacks is causing shipping companies to reroute away from the Suez Canal to the Cape of Good Hope route.

This is pushing up the cost of shipping beef and lamb from Australia to Europe, while also disrupting shipments of live animals to countries in the Middle East.

The MV Bahijah, a vessel carrying livestock of sheep and cattle, was last week ordered to return to Australia after diverting away from the Red Sea due to the worsening security situation.

The Australian Department of Agriculture said it had taken the decision to ensure the health and welfare of the livestock on board.


Jan 23 - Russian wheat export prices and shipments continued decline last week
Russian wheat export prices continued to decline last week following a drop in global markets, while shipments also fell amidst challenging weather conditions, analysts said. The informal restriction of the export price by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture also remains one of the influencing factors, they said.

Jan 23 - China 2023 soybean imports from Brazil rise 29%, US share shrinks
China's soybean imports from Brazil in 2023 jumped 29% from the prior year, customs data showed on Saturday, expanding the South American grower's dominance in the world's largest soybean market and eating into the U.S. market share. Total shipments from Brazil to China were 69.95 million metric tons last year, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed.

Jan 22 - China's 2023 imports of copper concentrate from Australia highest since 2021
China imported 10,104 metric tons of copper ore and concentrate from Australia last month, bringing the 2023 total volumes to the highest since June 2021, customs data showed on Saturday, as Beijing eased an unofficial ban on Australian imports. China has gradually eased tariffs and unofficial bans against a range of Australian commodities since a new government came to power in Canberra in 2022.

Jan 22 - South Korea’s MFG buys 66,000 T corn in tender
South Korea's Major Feedmill Group has purchased an estimated 66,000 metric tonnes of animal feed corn to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender on Friday, European traders said. The tonnage supplied can be varied according to origin selected, they said


Jan 19 - Wheat shipments via Suez plunge amid Red Sea attacks: WTO
Wheat shipments via the Suez Canal fell by almost 40% in the first half of January to 0.5 million metric tons due to attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the World Trade Organization said on Thursday on social media platform X. The WTO data, based on a dashboard developed jointly by the International Grains Council and the World Trade Organization, adds to signs of ship diversions following attacks on vessels by Iran-aligned Houthi militants in Yemen.

Jan 19 - Ukraine's maritime grain exports to fall 20% m/m in January
Ukrainian maritime grain exports are expected to fall by around 20% in January from the previous month due to the crisis in the Red Sea and the New Year holidays, a senior Ukrainian government official said on Thursday. "Looks like it could be around minus 20%. But in any case it would be a very substantial volume," the source told Reuters, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.


Jan 18 - Red Sea attacks unlikely to hit French cereals exports to Asia for now - FranceAgriMer
Attacks on ships in the Red Sea are unlikely for now to affect exports of French cereals to Asia, notably China which is a key market for France, since they are targeted at ships going towards Israel, farm office FranceAgriMer on Wednesday. The Iran-allied Houthi militia have been attacking commercial ships in the region since November in an escalation of Israel's war with Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza.

Jan 18 - Jordan buys about 120,000 metric tons wheat in tender
Jordan's state grains buyer purchased about 120,000 metric tons of hard milling wheat to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender on Wednesday, traders said. It was believed to have been bought from trading house Ameropa all at an estimated $269.00 a ton cost and freight in two 60,000 ton consignments, one for shipment in the second half of March and the other in the first half of April, they said.


Jan 17 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: This week, the market for the Azov Sea has experienced a decrease. Owners have noticed a significant decline in business activity from grain
traders in comparison to the previous week. The drop in the Turkish lira exchange rate and the strengthening of the Russian ruble are cited as key contributing factors. Traders are reporting that buyers are simply not paying, resulting in fewer new fixtures being concluded. Consequently, owners with open spot positions are prepared to negotiate very competitive freight levels in order to secure business. Meanwhile, charterers are attempting to pressure owners into accepting lower rates for future cargoes.

FAR EAST
: There are no major changes in the market. There are still few export shipments and a lot of free fleet.

CASPIAN SEA: The market is still on a slow downward trend. Iranian purchasers are in no rush to finalize new agreements. Grain prices are decreasing and there are
unfavorable shifts in the currency exchange rate, leading to a negative effect on freight costs.

BALTIC SEA
: The Baltic Sea market strengthened over the course of a week following the holidays.


Jan 17 - Algeria buys about 600,000 T milling wheat in tender
Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC has bought about 600,000 metric tons of milling wheat in an international tender that closed on Tuesday, European traders said in initial assessments. This was around the high end of first estimates of between 500,000 and 650,000 tons.

Jan 17 - Houthi attack on dry bulk ship to boost grain diversions
An attack on a dry bulk carrier this week in the Red Sea region is set to lead to more diversions of grain cargoes around the Cape of Good Hope but most are still willing to risk using the Suez Canal for now, shipping sources said on Tuesday. Houthi forces in Yemen struck the U.S.-owned and operated dry bulk ship Gibraltar Eagle with an anti-ship ballistic missile, U.S Central Command said on Monday, although there were no reports of injuries or significant damage.


Jan 16 - Suez Canal stoppage disrupts food trade, piles on to climate-stressed supply chains (IHSmarkit)

- Freight rates pressured by shippers rerouting away from the Suez Canal; Container shipments more than double or triple on some routes since December
- Ongoing security concerns expected to increase costs and disrupt trade for various food commodities, particularly between Asia Europe, and the Middle East.
- Logistical challenges in the Red Sea compound existing climate-related challenges in Central and South America

Container shipping rates have been increasing since December, as maritime shipments have largely been diverted away from the Red Sea and the Suez Canal following attacks on commercial vessels by the Houthi militant group based in Yemen. As of January 12, rates for container shipments from North Asia to Europe more than tripled, surging 219% over a one-month period according to Platts-assessed data. Rates from North Asia to East Coast North America increased 113% over the same period.

As security concerns in the region now look to be more prolonged, and shipments continue to avoid the Red Sea, shipping rates are expected to remain pressured. Approximately 12% of world trade and 30% of container shipping transits the Suez Canal, and it creates the shortest route for maritime shipments from Asia to Europe.

The diversion of cargo away from the Suez Canal also comes as shipping sees pressure from environmental challenges elsewhere in the world. Shipping remains constrained at the Panama Canal as the number of vessels permitted to transit the canal has been progressively reduced since July of last year due to historically low water levels. Ports in Northern Brazil have also faced ongoing issues with low water levels, while some ports in Europe on the lower Rhine were forced to close in December due to heavy rains and snowmelt which led to critically high water levels.

Security situation in the Red Sea


In mid-December, several global container shipping companies suspended services in the Red Sea due to Houthi attacks. On December 18, the US announced the creation of a maritime task force (termed “Operation Prosperity Guardian”) to protect commercial vessels in the Red Sea. So far, however, this has not been able to sufficiently address the security issues for shippers. Shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk A/S (Maersk) resumed service in the Red Sea on December 24 following the launch of Operation Prosperity Guardian, but suspended service again on December 31 in response to new Houthi attacks.

Attacks have intensified into January, with growing expectations of further escalation and more shippers issuing advisories against sailing in the Red Sea region. On January 11, the UK and UK militaries executed strikes against Houthi positions, increasing expectations of further escalation. Shipping organizations INTERTANKO and BIMCO jointly recommended the next day that tanker operators suspend transits in the Red Sea for up to 72 hours in anticipation of potential retaliatory Houthi attacks.

Suez detour pressures food trade between Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Exporters are already seeing challenges from the reroute around the Suez Canal. Mainland Chinese garlic prices have already risen after lower production in 2023 and are now rising further due to increased shipping rates. Traders also told S&P Global Commodity Insights that buying activity was already subdued due to higher prices. Trade in dried fruit and nuts , particularly between Turkey and the Middle East, is also highly dependent on the Suez Canal, and faces threats of delays and price pressure as we approach seasonal surge in demand for Ramadan, which begins in March.

A host of other food and agricultural commodities such as Southeast Asian desiccated coconut and dried fruit exports, Chinese and Indian peanut exports, and Asian rice, sugar, and coffee exports all stand to be affected. However, traders indicate some buyers have so far stayed away from the market following the surge in shipping costs.

Fresh products also face an uncertain outlook as we approach peak season for imported supplies in much of the northern hemisphere. Egyptian orange exports have been increasing recently, with strong volumes expected this year due to a good crop and increasing demand from Asia. However, higher shipping prices could impact Asian demand.

Vilas Shinde, chairman of the Indian farmer producer organization Sahyadri Farms, told the Indian news publication The Economic Times in late December that Indian grape exports to Europe – which see peak volumes in the first quarter of year – will see increased logistics costs due to the situation in the Red Sea. However, export volumes are still expected to be strong this year due to production and logistical challenges impacting grape supplies in the Americas.

Logistical challenges ongoing for South American exporters

As noted above, supply chains have come under strain in recent months due to weather challenges through the world. Most notably, constrained ship traffic at the Panama Canal continues to impact food exports from South America.

Peruvian grape exports have been largely diverted to the US this season due to crop damage in California impacting US domestic supplies and delays at the Panama Canal increasing shipping costs to Europe. Peru’s grape exports are expected to exceed last year due to strong US demand and unusual weather which actually allowed harvesting to begin earlier than normal.

For other crops, the outlook is less favorable. Peruvian mango production has fallen 80% this year due to weather impacts, with export price now double last year as a result. Peruvian and Chilean blueberries are also facing smaller crops this year as well as delayed harvests and deliveries to processing plants.

As the disruption in the Red Sea pressures global container rates, this will likely create additional pressures for South American exporters going into the peak season for various fresh products. Chile’s refrigerated and containerized exports, for example, generally begin rising in November and peak in the first quarter of the year.


Jan 16 - EU's eastern members demand import duties on Ukraine grains
The European Union's eastern states are demanding the EU impose import duties on Ukraine grains, citing unfair competition, Hungary's agricultural ministry said on Monday. The ministry said the farm ministers from Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia had sent a letter to the European Commission requesting the measures, saying cheaper agricultural products from Ukraine are eating into their export markets.

Jan 16 - Brazil's coffee exports nearly flat in 2023 - industry group
Brazil's green coffee exports ended 2023 nearly flat from the previous year, as vigorous growth in shipments of the robusta variety and China's increasing appetite for the beverage partially offset logistical hurdles, exporters association Cecafe said on Monday. Farmers exported a total of 35.53 million 60-kg bags of green coffee last year, 0.3% below the figure from 2022, Cecafe said.


Jan 15 - Container rates soar on concerns of prolonged Red Sea disruption, inflation
Container shipping rates for key global trade routes have soared this week, with U.S. and UK air strikes on Yemen stirring fears of a prolonged disruption to global trade in Red Sea, one of the world's busiest routes, industry officials said on Friday. U.S. and British warplanes, ships and submarines launched dozens of strikes across Yemen overnight, retaliating against Iran-backed Houthi forces for attacks on Red Sea shipping, widening regional conflict stemming from Israel's war in Gaza.

Jan 15 - France's Senalia sees 2023/24 grain exports stir after slow start
Senalia, which operates France's biggest grain export terminal, said on Friday that its cereal shipments from Rouen port were picking up after a disappointing start to the season marked by stiff competition from cheaper Black Sea supplies. Cooperative-owned Senalia loaded 1.67 million metric tons of cereals between July and December, the first half of the 2023/24 season, down nearly a third from 2.43 million over the same period in 2022/23, it said during a presentation.


Jan 12 - Romania to remain biggest alternative export route for Ukraine's grain
Romania will remain Ukraine's largest alternative export route for grains and other goods in addition to Kyiv's own Black Sea corridor, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Thursday. Ukraine is one of the world's biggest grain exporters. It began using Romania's Black Sea port of Constanta after Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022 halted shipments from its own Black Sea ports.

Jan 12 - China's imports of Mongolian coal set to rise as transport improves
China's imports of Mongolian coking coal may rise to a record in 2024, after more than doubling in 2023, on improving transport links and its lower price versus domestic and international supplies, traders and miners said. China is the world's biggest steel producer and coal importer and a shift to abundant Mongolian supplies could come at the expense of Australian imports of the steelmaking ingredient.


Jan 11 - Shipping issues give global spice trade a rough start to 2024 (IHSmarkit)

- Shipping lines avoiding Red Sea area as much as possible
- Freight rates have increased substantially
- Sudan is suffering a ‘double whammy’ due to its own war

The international spice trade is facing increasing freight rates again as container ships resort to rerouting away from the Red Sea area to avoid attacks by Houthi rebel forces. The Bab al-Mandab strait is a critical waterway through which almost 15% of global trade passes. If attacks continue, the fear is that fuel prices will rise and supply chains will be damaged.

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have declared support for Hamas in the war it launched against Israel in October. Since November, the rebels have attacked commercial shipping in the Red Sea more than 20 times using missiles, drones, fast boats and helicopters. They have claimed – often falsely – the ships were linked to Israel.

Major shipping companies have massively reduced their vessel movements through the Bab al-Mandab strait often opting instead to divert vessels via the Cape of Good Hope. However, this substantially extends the total shipping time.

Rogier Van der Linden of Rotterdam trader Catz International said he was anticipating trading impacts on any of the spices from Asia, key origins in the region being India, Vietnam, China and the Philippines.

However, there are also major impacts for anyone trading to and from the African region. Fares Oufi of FAAS Trade & Investment represents one of the major Sudanese processors of gum Arabic and also covers sesame seed trading out of Sudan. Sudan itself is beset with internal conflict which has brought major turmoil over the last year.

Frustrating situation

Oufi observed that freight rates have escalated about 100% since late December. “We are surprised because the routing we are going through to EU port destinations at the moment is to go north via Suez. That area is secure and safe. It is just when you come down from Port Sudan south past Eritrea and Somalia. That routing is all to the Far East. We’re not shipping much at the moment to the Far East because the freight increase is not making it a suppliers’ market, it is a buyers’ market, and a lot of people are holding back at the moment in anticipation of price increases. So on that basis we would expect prices to be influenced largely by higher freights for cargoes in that direction – going up that sector to the Far East,” he explained.
“For cargo going up the Red Sea, through Suez, and into the Mediterranean and feeding the European destination ports, we would expect a small premium (which is not the case) because obviously there needs to be some kind of logistics consideration for moving and drawing containers and so on, but we have seen a big hike in European destination port shipments. The main reason for that is because of the war people are not importing like they used to which means there are no empties to hand over to exporters. If there are no readily available empties the shipping lines have to get them on a feeder vessel from Jeddah. That is extra cost that they would have for a one way journey just to pick up empties from Jeddah, bring them over to port Sudan where customers would grab them quickly and fill them with their exports – sesame seed, gum Arabic and so on,” Oufi added.

Oufi noted the current situation could be summed up as “double whammy” as it combines with the ongoing problems of the war in Sudan. Previously, a shipping agent might quote a rate around $1,700 per 20 ft.container but this subsequently gets hiked to $2,400 then $2,700. “So you are forced to uplift the prices,” Oufi noted. The voyage route to be taken and duration is decided by the shipping lines. This can be frustrating for suppliers as it can mean that an unnecessarily protracted route has been selected, but they have no say in the matter.
Oufi explained that FAAS Trade & Investment is now quoting on an FOB basis. The client is then invoiced for the shipment costs separately or makes their own direct payment arrangements to the local shipping line agent from the outset.

Route changes from Asia

Rerouting shipments from Asia via the Cape of Good Hope extends the total shipment time by an estimated two weeks over the previous journey through the Red Sea. Van der Linden noted the main impacts are higher freight rates and delays to shipments. Similarly, Gabbir Sedik, broker at Van Der Does Spice Brokers told S&P Global Commodity Insights: “The containers and shipments from Asia are all delayed and also increasing in freight rates. We see this in the offers we receive – not in the FOB terms but in the cost and freight terms we see there is a significant increase in prices.” Seddik recalled that until recently the normal rate for a 20 ft. container from China to Europe was around $800. This has now trebled in price to about $3,000-4,000/20 ft. container.

Seddik’s colleague Marco Van der Does said he was optimistic that there will be less rerouting of vessels than expected and the major freight companies will manage to maintain a good level of movement through their established routes via the Red Sea. The knock-on impacts of not achieving this are too severe: the whole global shipments schedule would be thrown into turmoil if the Red Sea becomes a complete no go area.

Andrew Barker of UK company Easyingredients said: “I’ve heard the freight rates from China have gone up a lot more proportionally than those from India and Indonesia and places like that. But $2,000 more divided by say 20 is $100 per metric ton. In the scheme of things when the products are worth $2,000 or more, it is a little bit but proportionally it is not a huge hit. They are just going to have to bear the cost.”

Chinese dried garlic is one of those product categories at these higher ends of the scale ($2,000/t +).

Seddik added that he expects the situation to “cool down” over time. He suggested that demand is likely to increase in the near term as buyers will want to secure material before prices increase any further. Meanwhile, some sellers are asking for their shipments to be delayed in the hope that the problem might be soon resolved. “Some sellers are not even giving offers with freight rates because it is changing daily,” Seddik explained.

Van der Linden noted: “In the end people need goods. The only thing is that in the end some products could become too expensive or that people will look at alternatives from different origins.”

Lower cost products will be prone to biggest impact


Van der Linden added that it also depends on what percentage of the total product cost is taken up by freight rates. “On cheap products it will be a bigger problem than for more expensive products,” he explained. Similarly, Seddik remarked: “The cheapest items will automatically become more expensive because they were cheap and based on the old freight rates. Now if the freight rates have increased by double or three times you can have a cheap offer which will increase by 20 or 30%. So the cheaper items will have more of an attack on their head than the more expensive items.” Cassia powder with a low oil content could be among those items showing sharp upturns in price. Another possible contender is lowest ASTA rated Chinese paprika powder.

Van der Linden cited the example of loading 25 metric tons of pepper in a 40 ft container. If the freight rates are increased by $2,000 per container this equates to a boost of $80/t on the cost of the pepper. “If it is a product which is voluminous – of which you can load less in a container – there is a bigger influence,” he said. Van der Linden recalled that on Chinese dried garlic the freight rates had been around $50 per metric ton whereas now they are close to $200/t. He observed there will be some buyers who prefer to wait before placing orders while others with a short term shortage will cover from the spot market. “I expect a bigger demand for products in the spot market,” Van der Linden added.

Barker of Easyingredients said: “It has affected some containers and it’s slowed up a bit but I don’t see it as causing a major issue for a lot of my clients. It’s not causing the Covid-like situation where freight rates went from $1,500 to $15,000.” Barker added that he views trading as continuing. “People are carrying on as normal and trying to get the quickest shipment at the lowest prices,” he said.


Jan 11 - Ukraine's Dec Black Sea food exports top U.N.-brokered deal at its peak
Ukraine exported 4.8 million metric tons of food via its Black Sea corridor in December, surpassing the maximum monthly volume exported under a previous U.N.-brokered grain deal, brokers said on Wednesday. Prior to Russia's invasion in February 2022 Ukraine exported about 6 million tons of food per month via the Black Sea.

Jan 11 - Tunisia buys about 50,000 T durum, 50,000 T feed barley in tender
Tunisia's state grains agency is believed to have purchased about 50,000 metric tons of durum wheat and 50,000 tons of animal feed barley in international tenders on Wednesday, European traders said. The durum wheat was believed to have been bought in two 25,000 ton consignments at estimated prices of $446.97 and $448.73 a ton c&f, both from trading house Viterra.


Jan 10 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: After the long Russian holidays, the Azov Sea market is beginning to show signs of activity. Charterers are testing the market with rates of usd 55-62 pmt fiost bss 3'k of wheat for a shipment from Rostov to Marmara, but actual fixtures are being concluded at rates above usd 60 pmt. Many vessel positions for January dates have already been filled. Although there is currently no active trade, traders are focused on finalizing previously agreed upon deals. Despite this, market players appear optimistic and anticipate that freight rates will either remain steady or increase in the coming week.

FAR EAST: At the beginning of the new year, there has been a slight decline in freight transportation. This decline is attributed to a notable decrease in grain shipments, which can be attributed to challenging weather conditions and unreliable railway operations.

CASPIAN SEA: The situation at the AMR roadstead has significantly improved, with little to no ice in the canal and ships sailing without the need for icebreaker assistance. However, freight is decreasing due to a decline in trade transactions and falling grain prices. While there is a positive trend in Makhachkala, the water situation remains challenging.

BALTIC SEA: The Baltic Sea freight market is bit low at the beginning of the year. A number of open vessels are looking for employment in spot/ppt.


Jan 10 - EU 2023/24 soft wheat exports down 11% by Jan 7
Soft wheat exports from the European Union since the start of the 2023/24 season in July had reached 15.84 million metric tons by Jan. 7, down 11% from a year earlier, data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. EU barley exports totalled 3.17 million tons, up 3% from the corresponding period in 2022/23, while EU maize imports were at 9.03 million tons, down 43% from a year earlier.

Jan 10 - South Korea’s NOFI buys around 135,000 T corn in tender
Leading South Korean animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed purchased about 135,000 metric tons of animal feed corn in an international tender on Tuesday, European traders said. It was purchased in two consignments.


Jan 09 - Russian wheat export prices edge up over last two holiday weeks
Export prices for Russian wheat have increased slightly over the last two holiday weeks, while market activity has remained low, analysts said on Monday. The price of 12.5% protein Russian wheat scheduled for free-on-board (FOB) delivery in February was $244 per metric ton, up $1 from the level two weeks ago, the IKAR agriculture consultancy reported.

Jan 09 - Ukraine grain exports down more than 4 mln tons year on year
Ukraine's grain exports so far in the 2023/24 July-June marketing season have fallen to about 19.4 million metric tons from almost 23.6 million tons at the same stage last year, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The volume exported this season includes 7.8 million tons of wheat, 10.3 million tons of corn and 1.2 million tons of barley.

 

Jan 08 - Red Sea crisis damages nut and dried fruit sea traffic in Turkey-Asia and Asia-Europe (IHSmarkit)

- MSC, Hapag Lloyd, Maersk Line and CMA CGM rerouting through the Cape of Good Hope
- Panama Canal Authority has softened restrictions

Turkish exports of dried fruit and nuts (pistachios, particularly) to the Middle East and Far East, particularly during the Ramadan festival. Turkey is taking part in several projects to build solid road and rail connections with Iraq and the UAE, using Dubai as a hinterland for its food exports. However, this project is far from being realised, and its exports rely on sea freight cargo through the Suez Canal.

MSC, Hapag Lloyd, Maersk and CMA CGM, the main European sea shipping companies offering services between Asia and the EU have announced changes in their routes, raising fees, offsetting the bearish trend seen in previous months due to the container oversupply and sluggish demand in the EU. Currently, prices for 40-feet containers between China and Rotterdam range from $3,500-4,000, up from $1,500-1,800/40-ft last November.


Jan 08 - Odesa region ports cargo rises 15 pct in '23, governor says
Ports in Ukraine's Black Sea region of Odesa boosted cargo handling in 2023, amid the war with Russia, by 15 percent year-on-year, regional Governor Oleh Kiper said on Friday. Kiper, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said the ports processed more than 50 million tonnes of cargo last year.

Jan 08 - River Rhine in Germany reopens to shipping after high water recedes
The river Rhine in Germany has been reopened to shipping after being halted due to a rise in water levels following rain last week, German authorities said on Monday. Rhine river shipping had been stopped around the western city of Koblenz on Friday. But water levels have fallen again to levels permitting ships to operate, the German inland waterways navigation agency said.


Jan 05 - Taiwan buys some 82,975 metric tons wheat of U.S.
The Taiwan Flour Millers' Association purchased an estimated 82,975 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in a tender, European traders said. The purchase involved various wheat types for shipment from the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast in two consignments.

Jan 05 - South Korean mills buy 50,000 T wheat from the U.S.
A group of South Korean flour mills bought an estimated 50,000 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in an international tender, European traders said. The purchase involved several different wheat types and was all bought on an FOB basis for shipment in 2024 between March 15 and April 15.


Jan 05 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 63% to $2,713/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) climbed 55% to $3,900/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 151% to $4,042/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) increased 108% to $5,175/FEU.

- Even with the US-led international naval task force in place, Houthi attacks on commercial vessels continued last week including a missile attack and attempted hijacking of a Maersk container ship on Saturday.
Saturday’s attempted hijacking - significant because Maersk was one of two carriers to recently announce it would reroute back through the Suez Canal - marked an escalation. The US response sunk three Houthi boats approaching the Maersk ship, reportedly killing ten. International tensions are rising as the UK is considering targeting Houthi positions in Yemen and Iran moved a warship to the Red Sea on Sunday, stating that Iranian naval vessels have periodically been in the Red Sea “"to secure shipping lanes, repel pirates, among other purposes since 2009." Houthi missile attacks have continued into the New Year even after US and UK responses.
Most container carriers are continuing to divert their vessels away from the Red Sea even with the force patrolling. Maersk and CMA CGM had resumed some Red Sea sailings as of late last week, and announced that they would gradually return in full when possible. But following the attack on Saturday, Maersk suspended all its Red Sea transits until further notice.

- The longer voyages for diverted services mean longer lead times for importers and some threat of port congestion if updated schedules can’t be maintained and multiple vessels arrive at once, though so far there have not been reports of backlogs. The excess capacity that carriers were contending with before the Red Sea disruptions will now be activated to use more ships than usual per service to try and keep up with departure schedules and keep containers moving.

- Some carriers are shortening the “free time” N. American import containers are allowed to sit at destination ports in attempts to speed up the return of empty containers and avoid equipment shortages at Asian origin ports, as empty containers will now take longer to get back to export hubs.
The diversions are also causing ocean rates to spike.

- Asia - N. Europe rates have increased 173% compared to just before the diversion announcements, to more than $4,000/FEU. Asia - Mediterranean prices have doubled to more than $5,000/FEU. These rates are more than double prices in January 2019. CMA CGM announced Asia - Mediterranean rates will increase to more than $6,000/FEU on January 15th. Carriers have also announced surcharges ranging from $500 to as much as $2,700 per container which could push the all-in prices paid by shippers even higher.

- Rates to N. America’s East Coast have climbed 52% to $3,900/FEU, 30% higher than in 2019. Some carriers have added significant surcharges for India - N. America containers, and $500/FEU surcharges for all Asia - N. America shipments starting in mid-January, though surcharge announcements for N. America have not been widespread so far. Prices to the West Coast have also increased sharply, climbing more than $1,000 per container to $2,713/FEU, possibly reflecting some anticipated shift in demand to the West Coast to avoid the increased transit time to the East Coast.


- With surcharges, if all-in prices reach the $5k - $8k per container range for these major ex-Asia tradelanes, those rate levels would be 2.5 to 4 times above normal levels for this time of year.
But compared to the pandemic years, carriers have the available capacity to address diversions and longer voyages. The additional costs and capacity taken up by the longer transits are pushing rates up significantly, but even at $5,000 - $8,000/FEU, Asia - N. Europe and Mediterranean prices would be 45% - 65% lower than their $14k/FEU pandemic peak in late 2021, and 65% - 75% lower compared to the Asia - N. America East Coast peak of $22k/FEU.

Jan 05 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices stayed level at $5.85/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 25% to $2.98/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices fell 13% to $1.82/kg.

In air cargo, some analysts are expecting the delays in ocean freight to lead to some shift of more urgent volumes to sea-air services or air cargo alternatives. So far there have not been reports of any significant air cargo bump, though. Freightos Air Index rates for Asia - N. America have remained level, while Asia - N. Europe prices decreased last week, to their lowest level since August of last year at about $3.00/kg.


Jan 04 - Shipping lines raise freight prices for some coffee routes – ICO
Shipping companies transporting coffee in containers have raised freight prices in some routes as a consequence of the attacks in the Red Sea that have forced vessels to take detours, the International Coffee Organization (ICO) said on Wednesday. Iran-backed group Houthis, who control much of Yemen including the capital, have attacked in the Red Sea commercial vessels they allege have Israeli links or are sailing to Israel, in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

Jan 04 - CMA CGM says ship off Yemen coast unharmed
French shipping firm CMA CGM said on Wednesday that its CMA CGM Tage container ship was unharmed and suffered "no incident" after Yemen's Houthis said they "targeted" the ship. The CMA CGM spokesperson said the ship was headed for Egypt, denying the Houthis' military spokesman Yahya Sarea comment that it was bound for Israel.


Jan 03 - Argentina farm exports halved in 2023 to settle at nearly $20 bln
Argentine farm exports totaled about $19.7 billion in 2023, data from the country's major oilseeds crushing and export body showed on Tuesday, a 51% drop from the previous year, largely because bad weather reduced agricultural output. Argentina is a major global exporter of processed soybeans, corn and wheat, but a major drought hit its farms in 2022-2023, adding to economic weakness.

Jan 03 - France's CMA CGM hikes shipping rates between Asia and Mediterranean
French shipping group CMA CGM will increase its container shipping rates from Asia to the Mediterranean region by up to 100% as of Jan. 15 compared to Jan. 1, it said in a notice posted on its website on Tuesday. As of Jan. 15 - which refers to the date of loading in the origin ports - and until further notice, CMA CGM' Freight All Kinds (FAK) rate for a 40-foot long container between Asia and the West Mediterranean will be $6,000, up from $3,000 on Jan. 1.


Jan 02 - Iran's SLAL tenders for 200,000 T soymeal - traders
Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL has issued an international tender to purchase up to 200,000 metric tons of soymeal, European traders said on Tuesday. The deadline for submission of price offers in the tenders is also Tuesday, Jan. 2, they said.

Jan 02 - Egypt's GASC seeks 50,000 tonnes of sugar in tender
Egypt's state grains buyer the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) is seeking 50,000 tonnes of raw cane sugar and/or 50,000 tonnes of white sugar in a tender, it said in a statement on Monday. White sugar should be packed in 50 kilogram packages, it said.


Dec 29 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 7% to $1,659/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) were level at $2,505/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 11% to $1,621/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) increased 5% to $2,525/FEU.

- Widespread carrier diversions away from the Red Sea and Suez Canal to avoid the threat of Houthi attacks are impacting ocean operations for ex-Asia trade to N. Europe, the Mediterranean and North America’s East Coast. Longer transit times have disrupted schedules and have carriers and port operators rushing to revise arrival slot allocations in an attempt to avoid the “vessel bunching” of multiple ships arriving at once that was one driver of port congestion and delays at Europe’s major hubs during the pandemic.
Relatively low container yard density at the moment and lessons learned during COVID will work in favor of ports trying to avoid significant backlogs. Carriers are adding additional vessels to their rotations and are sailing faster to keep up with departure schedules in Asia, but the longer trips will mean more time required to repatriate empty containers and could lead to shortages at Asian origin ports. And if carriers start omitting port calls and offloading containers at alternate destination ports to compensate, these steps could also contribute to delays for shippers and the possibility of congestion at larger hubs.
At the same time, demand may be increasing as shippers start to pull forward volumes to make up for longer transit times and in preparation for China’s Lunar New Year holiday in early February.

- Though prices have not spiked just yet, carriers facing higher costs – estimated at as much as $2M per round trip – for longer transits, as well as the possible increase in demand will push ocean rates up significantly in January.
Even before the diversions, carriers had announced plans for January GRIs to elevate Asia - Europe and Mediterranean rates to above $3,000/FEU. The success of those increases would’ve depended on blanked sailings and other capacity reduction measures, which now will be canceled as those extra ships will instead be activated to service the now significantly longer loops. And on top of the spot rate increases, carriers have announced a deluge of Asia - Europe surcharges – ranging from $500 to more than $2,000 per container depending on the carrier and the specific lane – starting on January 1st to pass costs on to their customers. Taken together, these GRIs and surcharges, if successful, could push spot rates up to the $4K - $5/FEU level while diversions continue.

- Asia - N. America operations and rates will likely be impacted as well. Some Asia - US East Coast services, especially from the Indian Subcontinent, typically sail via the Suez Canal and will now divert around the south of Africa. Some carriers have already announced $1,500/FEU GRIs and significant surcharges for India - N. America containers, and $500/FEU surcharges for all transpacific shipments starting in mid-January, though surcharge announcements for N. America have not been widespread so far.
But the number of impacted Asia - N. America vessels will be even higher than usual as several carriers had already rerouted some services – that normally transit the Panama Canal on their way to the East Coast – to the Suez to avoid possible Panama Canal drought-driven delays and extra costs. The US West Coast may also be impacted in the form of an increase in volumes as some shippers are already shifting away from the East Coast to avoid the increase in transit times for time-sensitive shipments.
This upward pressure on rates – which will be welcomed by carriers facing overcapacity and now starting Asia - N. America long-term contract negotiations – is likely to persist until carriers feel comfortable returning to the Red Sea.

- Even with the US-led naval coalition in place, attacks have continued. The US has indicated that the naval force will use a defensive strategy to secure the waterway, while the Houthis have threatened to attack US Navy ships if Houthi positions are targeted.  
But, with the task force in place, Maersk and CMA CGM have already started scheduling some vessels to return to the Red Sea in the coming days and have announced that they will resume normal operations as soon as possible, though they have not given a definite timeline for a full return. Other carriers like Hapag-Lloyd and MSC, meanwhile, have no plans to return even with the new security measures.

Dec 29 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices were level at $5.85/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 17% to $3.97/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices dipped 6% to $2.09/kg.

- In air cargo, some analysts are expecting the delays in ocean freight to lead to some shift of more urgent volumes to sea-air services or air cargo alternatives. So far there have not been reports of any significant air cargo bump, though. Freightos Air Index rates for Asia - N. America were level last week, while Asia - N. Europe prices decreased.
 

Dec 27 - NITRO SHIPPING Freight Report for Grains

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov Sea market remains to be firm during the last week to the year. Charterers discuss the mid and the second half of January's cargoes. Freight levels discussed are pretty the same as recent 3 weeks' levels. 3'k wbp ex Rostov is able to pay high 60's usd pmt fiost to Marmara. Market players expect the freight market still to be firm during January.

FAR EAST: The market is currently stable, with shipments progressing smoothly. However, inclement weather is causing fluctuations in operations, with the railway running intermittently and many ships being delayed due to storms.

CASPIAN SEA: The region continues to face challenging circumstances as vessels are still queuing in the roadsteads of Astrakhan and Makhachkala, with wait times exceeding 10 days. Icebreakers in VKMSK are navigating difficult areas, escorting one vessel at a time, while a dredger is in operation in Makhachkala's canal. Many exporters have had to delay their shipments until January, and some contracts have been canceled. Additionally, the situation is further exacerbated by severe storms in the Caspian Sea.

BALTIC SEA: The Baltic Sea has weakened a bit as usual during Chrstmas and New Year holidays.


Dec 27 - Ukraine SPIKE_FREIGHT weekly report

Sold freight
- railway logistics (grain):
· Chernihiv region - South port @ 1'651 UAH with VAT

- Agroexport by road continues to decrease. As of December 25, the border crossing point of agricultural products for export through auto checkpoints amounted to 332 thousand tons, compared to 398 thousand tons in November and 434 thousand tons in October. Christmas holidays and low customer activity contributed to the decrease in the activity of road transport. In December, the highest average daily rate for cars was through checkpoints with Romania - 4,020 tons, which is compared to 4,050 tons in November. While the crossing rate with Poland was 3,467 tons, compared to 4,410 tons in November, with Hungary at 2,495 tons, compared to 3,159 tons in November, with Slovakia at 809 tons, compared to 1,248 tons in November, with Moldova at 2,554 tons, compared to 3,020 tons in November.
The most effective ways to pass vehicles are "Parubne - Siret" on the border with Romania and "Chop - Zachen" on the border with Hungary.
Freight rates were fixed in some areas due to the limited number of available cars during the festive period.

- Export shipments by rail across the western borders of Ukraine in the direction of Europe amounted to an average of 387 wagons per day. The total monthly volume of exports across the western borders is expected in December at the level of 600-700 thousand tons.
Ukraine sends about 200 European trains to the borders with European countries every day. The average daily load capacity of wagons in the ports of Bolshaya Odessa is kept at 930-950 cars per day. The average number of carriages moving towards the Black Sea ports increased to 7,658 cars.
The increase in unloading at ports is hampered by constant air worries and storms in the Black Sea, which slow down export shipments.
Freight rates for rail transport in Ukraine have stabilized and have started to decline in some more efficient directions. This was facilitated by an increase in the number of wagons involved in transportation by operators.

- The plan of approach of cargo ships to loading in the Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea and the Danube ports increased to 1.5 million tons. As of 22.12, agroexport by water transport in December is expected at 3.9 million tons, including scheduled ship shipments.
Shipments through the Danube ports in December decreased to 766 thousand tons, including actual shipments and approach plan for cargo ships.
Freight rates have been strengthened due to the growing demand for transportation from the Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea.


Dec 22 - Red Sea attacks disrupt world trade, more ships vow to avoid waters
Germany's Hapag-Lloyd and Hong Kong's OOCL said on Thursday they would avoid the Red Sea, the latest shipping companies to do so after attacks by Yemen's Houthi group on vessels disrupted global trade, prompting the establishment of a naval task force. The hostilities have put a chokehold on ship passages through the Suez Canal, which handles about 12% of worldwide trade.

Dec 22 - Panama Canal has seen no traffic increase amid attacks in Red Sea
The Panama Canal Authority said on Thursday it has not seen a notable traffic increase due to the situation in the Red Sea, where attacks by Yemen's Houthi group are forcing vessels to divert or switch their transponders off. The hostilities have put a chokehold on ship passages through the Suez Canal, which handles about 12% of worldwide trade, and according to analysts could end up forcing some vessel owners to try to pass the Panama Canal even amid transit restrictions due to severe drought.


Dec 21 - Shipping industry in the dark over US-led Red Sea navy force
Shipping companies remain in the dark over a new international navy coalition being assembled by the United States to combat attacks in the Red Sea, with many vessels continuing to avoid the area or cancelling contracts, sources said on Wednesday. The sources, who include shipping and maritime security officials, say few practical details are known about the initiative launched on Tuesday by Washington or whether it will directly engage in the event of further armed attacks at sea.

Dec 21 - Exporters explore cargo flights as way out of deepening Red Sea bottleneck
Exporters are scrambling to find alternative air, land and ocean routes to get toys, apparel, tea and auto parts to retailers as disarray ripples through freight supply chains around the world during a wave of attacks in the Red Sea. Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen have stepped up attacks on vessels in the Red Sea since Nov. 19 to show support for Hamas during Israel's military offensive in Gaza.


Dec 20 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: Due to bad weather in the area, there are delays for vessels. Some charterers are seeking to cover their 2023 expiring contracts with spot positions, but there are very few vessels available for loading in this year. January shipments are being discussed at firm rates, and icebreaker navigation began on the 15th of December in Azov, Rostov, and Taganrog ports. There are discussions for Marmara 3/5'k grain business from Rostov at high 60's usd pmt fiost for prompt dates in January. Ice dues are typically added on top of agreed freight and paid by charterers. Some charterers are discussing and finalizing cargoes for later in January, even as late as the 25th.

FAR EAST: Despite the partial restoration of operations in the Far Eastern railway and the confirmation of cargo transportation applications, the market situation remains unchanged. It is anticipated that the freight market will start to change in the early part of next year.

CASPIAN SEA: The region is facing ongoing challenging conditions. In addition to adverse weather, the Volga-Caspian Canal has been affected by ice, resulting in over 50 ships waiting to enter and around 30 waiting to exit. Despite the ice, some shipowners are still operating and loading cargo in Volgograd. In Makhachkala, snow has covered the entrance channel due to bad weather, causing a significant decrease in the draft through passage. Approximately 12-15 vessels are expected at the roadstead. It is anticipated that these conditions may impact shipping rates and contribute to a slowdown in their decline.

BALTIC SEA
: The Baltic Sea freight market is firm.


Dec 20 - SPIKE_FREIGHT weekly report

 

Sold freight
- railway logistics (grain):
· Chop, Ukraine - Mon. Italy @55€

- Export shipments by road began to decline due to ʼ overlaps in ʼ and strikes by the carriers of neighboring European countries. As of 18.12, total exports by road in December amounted to 233 thousand tons, compared to 296 thousand tons in November and 310 thousand tons in October. The resumption of active strikes and the closure of roads on ʼDriving to neighboring European countries has caused a large number of trucks on the borders. The most effective ways to pass vehicles are "Parubne - Siret" on the border with Romania and "Chop - Zachen" on the border with Hungary.

- Agroexport by rail across the borders in the direction of Europe continues to decrease in December and amounted to about 393 wagons per day.
On average, two European trains depart from Ukraine for a day through the border with Poland, one to Hungary, one to Slovakia and almost three to Romania. During the week, the average daily rate of wagons handling (unloading) in the Black Sea ports amounted to 950-1050 wagons per day. The average number of carriages moving towards the Black Sea ports continues to grow.
The cost of rail transport in Ukraine began to stabilize. The presence of alternative transportation by road creates a significant competition for rail transportation.

- As of 15.12, agricultural exports by water in December amounted to 2.9 million tons, including scheduled vessels. The volume of ʼ shipment through the Danube ports of Ukraine is significantly lower than the sea ports.
Stable demand for the transportation of goods from the Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea keep freight rates unchanged.


Dec 20 -  Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) fell 3% to $1,556/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) were level at $2,509/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) were also level at $1,467/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) increased 12% to $2,414/FEU.

- An increase in Houthi missile and drone attacks on ships – including container vessels operated by Maersk, MSC and others –  last week led four of the top five largest container carriers to announce they will be avoiding the Red Sea and the Suez Canal until security is restored to the waterway.  Together with ZIM who was already diverting their Red Sea traffic, these carriers represent 56% of global capacity, meaning an estimated 17% of global volumes will be taking a longer, more expensive route from Asia around the southern coast of Africa to N.Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as some Asia - N. America traffic.
In response, the US Department of Defense announced the launch of Operation Prosperity Guardian which will work alongside existing navy assets in the region to address the Houthi threat and will include support from the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain.
Container diversions will take an extra 7-14 days in transit time depending on the lane, and mean a 15-20% increase in costs for carriers. In addition to longer voyages and higher costs, disruptions to scheduled arrival times could cause congestion at destination ports and some equipment shortages as empty containers take longer to get back to origin ports.

- Asia - N. Europe and Mediterranean ocean prices had been climbing on December GRIs even before the announced diversions, with rates to Europe up 21% $1,467/FEU and to the Mediterranean up 62% to $2,414/FEU since the end of November.  Rates so far this week have continued increasing to about $1,560/FEU to Europe and $2,600/FEU to Mediterranean destinations.
But those rate increases were likely only achieved on the back of significant blanked sailings by carriers trying to bring high capacity levels – driven by growing fleet sizes – to the level of demand. Some carriers were already extending service suspensions into 2024 as supply and demand are misaligned. Now, carriers will devote those extra vessels to services traveling longer distances and requiring more ships to keep to existing departure schedules.

- Asia - N. Europe and Mediterranean ocean rates will almost certainly increase due to the higher costs needed for these diversions.  ZIM, which was already diverting its vessels that normally use the Red Sea, increased rates for its Asia - Mediterranean service, up to the $3,300-$3,400/FEU range last week. But because of the excess capacity available to address the disruption – something that was not the case during the Suez Canal blockage in 2021 – it is possible that the industry will avoid the extreme rate spikes like those seen during the pandemic.
So, shippers on affected lanes should expect longer lead times and higher freight rates until the Houthi threat is brought under control. But operations could continue reasonably well until then, and freight rates are unlikely to spike to extreme highs due to the current high levels of available capacity. With the international community mobilizing and motivated to remove this disruption to global trade, it is also possible that these diversions will not last very long.

- On the transpacific, ocean rates were stable overall last week. Looking toward 2024, reports of robust holiday sales in November in the US points to the continued strength of US consumers, and suggests that importers will enter a restocking cycle after the holidays. And, just as daily transits through the Panama Canal were set to drop from 22 to 20, authorities announced transits will instead increase to 24 a day in January due to new conservation measures and water level developments.

Dec 20 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices were level at $5.86/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices increased 30% to $4.78/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices increased 3% to $2.22/kg.

China - N. Europe air cargo rates, which had been declining since the end of November, rebounded last week to more than $4.50/kg back to about its November level. This increase could indicate some shippers are shifting some time-sensitive shipments from ocean to air as ocean shipments will now take longer to arrive due to widespread diversions.


Dec 20 - US launches Red Sea force as ships reroute to avoid attacks
The United States on Tuesday launched a multinational operation to safeguard commerce in the Red Sea as attacks by Iran-backed Yemeni militants forced major shipping companies to reroute, stoking fears of sustained disruptions to global trade. The Houthi militant group, which controls vast amounts of territory in Yemen after years of war, has since last month fired drones and missiles at international vessels sailing through the Red Sea - attacks it says respond to Israel's devastating assault on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Dec 20 - Ukraine says exports through Black Sea corridor have reached 10 mln T
Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov on Tuesday said that 10 million metric tons of products have been exported to 24 countries through its alternative Black Sea corridor. Kyiv introduced the corridor, which hugs the western shores of the Black Sea, after Russia withdrew in July from a U.N.-brokered deal to guarantee the safe shipment of Ukrainian grain.


Dec 19 - Four of the five largest shipping firms in the world will veer from the Red Sea route due to attacks (Selina wamucii)

This decision has put oil and seaborne wheat shipments on the line.
Yemeni Houthis have intensified attacks on ships they link to Israel, a country also facing war-fueled trade disruption. The Iran-supported rebels claim to have targeted three vessels in December, one of them a Liberian flagship. The attacks have pressured BP, CMA CGM and Maersk to stay off the Red Sea route.

This will impact 10% of global trade by 17000 vessels that pass through the Suez Canal yearly.
The biggest losers of this armed threat are oil and gas.  Red Sea shipments for the two accounted for 12% and 8% respectively of global shipments between January and June, 2023.

Wheat Shipments Blank
Wheat faces the next big challenge as most West Asia nations rely on Red Sea-bound imports of the grain. Indeed, global seaborne wheat trade in the second half of November saw a spike due to demand from West Asia. The region received 0.8 million tonnes of wheat between mid- and end-November 2023.  Recipients included Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen and Jordan.

Global seaborne wheat supplies for the November 16- 30 fortnight came mainly from Russia and the EU, at 1.1 million MT. Canada and Australia shipped 0.9 million tonnes and 0.6 million tonnes, respectively.

Security concerns also hindered Ukraine’s wheat shipments totaling 0.9 million tonnes from reaching the Mediterranean region. The destinations for the foiled mid-November to early-December 2023 shipments were Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Italy and Spain. One of the long-range shipments was bound for China.

Yemen’s Wheat Imports
Among the countries that rely on Red Sea for their seaborne wheat is Yemen. The country imported 1 million tonnes of wheat between July and November, 2023. Already 18% down from the same period in 2022, wheat imports fell further by 30% in early December 2023.
Wheat imports to Yemen in 2022 accounted for 57% of its total food imports.

Alongside India as the closest source of wheat, the government of Yemen also seeks cheap grain from Russia and Ukraine. The two former Soviet nations supplied 4% of the country’s wheat imports in 2021.

Yemen’s wheat purchasing decisions go by pricing comparisons. India, for instance, received high orders in 2022 for it was offering the cheapest wheat rates at $421 per tonne. Comparatively, Russia’s rate was $423 per tonne while that from the U.S’. wheat shippers was $447 per tonne.

Ultimately, as ships circumnavigate the Cape of Good Hope, wheat shipping rates will likely go up. This will force Yemen and the rest of West Asia to look for trade solutions.


Dec 19 - London marine insurers widen high risk zone in Red Sea as attacks surge
London's marine insurance market has widened the area in the Red Sea it deems as high risk after a surge in attacks on commercial ships, according to a statement issued on Monday. Guidance from the Joint War Committee (JWC), which comprises syndicate members from the Lloyd's Market Association (LMA) and representatives from the London insurance company market, is watched closely and influences underwriters' considerations over insurance premiums.

Dec 19 - Brazil's yearly soybean exports top 100 million tons for the first time
Brazil, the world's largest soybean exporter, has for the first time ever exported over 100 million metric tons of the oilseed within a year, boosted by a record harvest and lower international prices, which buyers used to build up stocks. So far in December, Brazil has exported about 1.99 million metric tons of soy, according to weekly data released by the foreign trade secretariat on Monday, bringing the total for 2023 to around 100.02 million metric tons.


Dec 18 - Shipping firms to avoid Suez Canal as Red Sea attacks increase
Two major freight firms including MSC, the world's biggest container shipping line, on Saturday said they would avoid the Suez Canal as Houthi militants in Yemen stepped up their assaults on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi movement has been attacking vessels in response to the Gaza war on a route that allows East-West trade, especially of oil, to use the Suez Canal to save the time and expense of circumnavigating Africa. War risk insurance premiums have risen as a result.

Dec 18 - Ukraine drives record grain exports at Romania's Constanta port
Romania's Black Sea port of Constanta has smashed its grain export record this year thanks to a surge in shipments from Ukraine, the port authority told Reuters on Friday, with its capacity set to grow as infrastructure projects advance. The port shipped 32.6 million metric tons of grain in January-November, it said. Its previous annual record was a little over 25 million tons.


Dec 15 - Maersk denies Houthi claim container ship hit by Yemeni militia
Danish shipping company Maersk on Friday denied a claim by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement that the militia carried out a drone strike on a Maersk vessel sailing towards Israel. The Houthis earlier claimed it carried out a military operation against a Maersk container vessel, directly hitting it with a drone. The Houthis, who made the claim in a statement, did not release any evidence.

Dec 15 - Saudi Arabia issues tender to buy estimated 715,000 T wheat
Saudi Arabia’s state wheat buying agency GFSA on Thursday said it has issued an international tender to purchase 715,000 metric tons of milling wheat, confirming earlier reports from European traders.
Delivery was sought in a range of dates between February and May 2024, said GFSA governor Ahmad Al Fares in a statement.


Dec 14 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index
 
- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) fell 1% to $1,603/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) climbed 5% to $2,497/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) climbed 18% to $1,466/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) increased 29% to $2,161/FEU.

- Asia - N. Europe and Mediterranean ocean rates increased significantly on early-month GRIs last week, with Mediterranean prices continuing to climb so far this week. With these increases, rates to N. Europe remain 8% below 2019 levels, but the sharper climb to the Mediterranean has prices 32% higher than pre-pandemic.

- Additional GRIs are planned by some carriers mid-month, with some announcing January GRIs as well, aiming to push rates past the $3k/FEU mark. Rates maintaining or exceeding their recent gains would likely be a function of stricter capacity reductions aimed at getting prices up during long-term contract negotiations, though there are also signs that demand will start to improve ahead of Lunar New Year.

 

- On the transpacific, rates to the West Coast have been about level since mid-November, while East Coast prices have ticked up 5% though some carriers will try for West Coast rates of $1,800/FEU and $3k/FEU to the East Coast in the second half of December. Reports of more carriers avoiding the Panama Canal in favor of the longer route around Africa’s southern tip will lead to more surcharges in the coming weeks.

- In terms of demand, the National Retail Federation reported that peak season actually stretched through October with volumes 9% higher than in 2019, before dipping in November. Projections through February for volumes above 2019 levels may point to continued consumer strength and expectations for inventory restocking for after the holidays.

- Houthis expanded their threat to Red Sea traffic to include all Israel-bound – not just Israeli-owned – vessels this week, and attacked a tanker it claimed was bound for Israel on Tuesday. A French Navy vessel assisted the tanker and shot down a drone headed the tanker’s way. Additional recent international steps to address the threat include more British Navy ships being deployed to the region, and US sanctions aimed at disrupting Houthi funds.  
The increased risk to ships in the region has led Maersk to join carriers charging a war risk premium for containers to and from Israeli ports, and ZIM will increase rates for its Asia - Mediterranean service that will avoid the Red Sea in favor of the longer route around Africa.
And across lanes, as carriers struggle with volume declines and lower rates, some reports show they are seeking to increase or introduce other types of fees to increase revenue in other ways, even as service levels are likely to suffer due to growing overcapacity.

Dec 14 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices decreased 7% to $5.88/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 13% to $3.69/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices climbed 1% to $2.16/kg.

Freightos Air Index data show that ex-China air cargo rates continued to cool this week, possibly indicating that the e-commerce-driven increase in demand over the last couple months may be starting to subside as the holiday season nears. Some increase in transatlantic demand has pushed rates up to $2.16/kg as of last week – a 30% increase since early October – but volumes have been soft compared to normal peak season levels.


Dec 14 - France raises non-EU wheat export forecast, worries over next crop
Farm office FranceAgriMer on Wednesday increased its forecast of French soft wheat exports outside the European Union in 2023/24 due to higher projected sales to China but expressed concerns for the 2024 harvest after heavy rainfall limited sowings. In a supply and demand outlook, the office pegged non-EU soft wheat exports at 10.2 million metric tons, up from 10.1 million projected last month, and 0.4% above last season's level.

Dec 14 - River Rhine in south Germany remains closed to shipping
Parts of the river Rhine in south Germany are closed to shipping on Wednesday and are expected to remain shut in the coming days after heavy rain and melting snow increased water levels, navigation authorities said. Rhine shipping remains halted around Maxau in south Germany, the German inland waterways navigation agency WSA said.


Dec 13 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: There has been a slight improvement in the Azov Sea market over the past week, with many vessels being booked for December dates. The bad weather in the Black and Azov Seas has caused delays for vessels. Charterers are already fixing dates for January and paying decent money. For example, 3/5'k wbp (sf abt 55') pays about 65-68 usd pmt fiost ex Rostov to Marmara excluding ice dues.

FAR EAST
: The decrease in shipments this month is having a noticeable impact on freight. The current situation is due to significant congestion on the railway, and Russian Railways is not confirming shipments to the Far East.

CASPIAN SEA: Freight rates continue to decrease in the basin, and the addition of severe weather conditions is only increasing the uncertainty. Exporters are hesitant to finalize contracts and are holding out for the most favorable freight rates. Spot positions in Astrakhan are currently reaching high 70's usd pmt fiost. Demand in Makhachkala is steady, and there are only a few ships gathered in the roadstead.

BALTIC SEA
: The Baltic Sea market is stable, with both charterers and owners looking to fill their open positions before Christmas.


Dec 13 - Ukraine SPIKE_FREIGHT weekly report

 

https://www.commodity3.com/chain/CSTUKR/ua-freight-index


Sold freight
- automotive logistics (tents):
· Rivne region., Ukraine - Mon. Bulgaria @85€
· Khmelnytsky region., Ukraine - Mon. Bulgaria @75€

- Agro-export by road stabilized, reaching 142 thousand tons by 11.12, compared to 187 thousand tons in November and 192 thousand tons in October. In December, the average rate of agricultural products passing across the border increased to 12,929 tons per day, compared to the same rate in November (17,060 tons) and October (17,490 tons). It is important to note that there is a gradual resumption of the pace of passing vehicles on the border with Poland, where the average rate of purchase of agricultural products in December amounted to 3351 tons.
Freight rates in the direction of northern Bulgaria from western Ukraine decreased to 80-95€ per ton. The automobile queue at the Romanian border lasts up to 12 days. At the same time, the road to the port of Constanta or northern Bulgaria takes only 2-3 days and 1 day of customs clearance. Even in such circumstances, the cost of freight by dump trucks to Constanta from western Ukraine is 75-90€ per ton, depending on the place of shipment.
An increase in throughput efficiency at the borders of Ukraine for agricultural exports could lead to a decrease in the cost of transportation to 20%, which will have a positive impact on the competitiveness of Ukrainian companies when exporting to Europe.

- Export of agricultural products by rail across the borders in the direction of Europe continues to decrease in December and amounted to 402 wagons per day on average.
The wagon stream continues to balance between the western border and the seaports of Greater Odessa. The average daily rate of processing (unloading) of wagons in the Black Sea ports remains within 660-950 wagons per day. The average number of carriages moving towards the Black Sea ports is gradually increasing.
The cost of rail transport in Ukraine began to decline. The transition of traders and farmers to transportation by road has led to a significant reduction in the demand for rail transportation. Manipulations with tariffs for rail transportation significantly undermined the reliability and trust in this type of transportation. Which only the offer of cars at auctions increased - rental rates began to decline from 4000 UAH to 2000 UAH.

- By 08.12, agricultural exports by water in December amounted to 582 thousand tons. Of these, 520 thousand tons were sent by sea, and 62 thousand tons by river route through the ports of Reni and Izmail.
The steadily growing demand for cargo transportation from Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea has caused stabilization and a slight increase in freight rates for the first time since the opening of the "Ukrainian Grain Corridor". Danube freight rates continued to decline.

Dec 13 - Yemen's Houthis warn ships in Red Sea to avoid travel to Israel
A senior official from Yemen's Houthis on Tuesday warned cargo ships in the Red Sea to avoid traveling toward Israel, after the Iran-aligned group claimed an attack on a commercial tanker earlier in the day. The Houthis earlier said they hit a Norwegian commercial tanker with a missile in their latest protest against Israel's bombardment of Gaza, underlining the risks of a conflict that has shaken the Middle East. 

 

Dec 13 - US soy shipments fall off pace despite decent demand: Braun
Recent U.S. soybean export sales have been respectable, though soy shipments have dropped off normal pace in the latest couple of weeks in a way not seen since the U.S.-China trade war in 2018. This does not necessarily mean the U.S. export program is in jeopardy as this year’s bar is already relatively low, though drought-related delays in Panama Canal traffic could be a major stumbling block as they could last well into 2024.

 

Dec 12 - Panama Canal drought to delay grain ships well into 2024Bulk grain shippers hauling crops from the U.S. Gulf Coast export hub to Asia are sailing longer routes and paying higher freight costs to avoid vessel congestion and record-high transit fees in the drought-hit Panama Canal, traders and analysts said. The shipping snarl through one of the world's main maritime trade routes comes at the peak season for U.S. crop exports, and the higher costs are threatening to dent demand for U.S. corn and soy suppliers that have already ceded market share to Brazil in recent years.Dec 12 - Argentina temporarily suspends grains export registerArgentina on Monday temporarily suspended its grains export register - a move that comes one day before new President Javier Milei is set to announce a series of economic measures. Milei was on Sunday inaugurated as president of Argentina, one of the world's leading grains exporters.

 

Dec 11 - US to import more sugar at higher tariff The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday raised its projection for total U.S. sugar imports, a move that was expected by the market, as the country has been dealing with tight supplies and high domestic prices. The USDA in its monthly supply and demand report projected U.S. sugar imports at 3.25 million short tonnes (ST) in 2023/24 (Oct-Sept), up from 3.13 million ST seen last month.Dec 11 - Shipping seeks safe waters in era of deadly geopolitics: Peter AppsAs tankers, car-carriers and other merchant vessels pass through the Malacca Strait, unlit fishing boats criss-cross the shipping lanes at night, making it one of the most challenging sea areas of the world to transit, even during peacetime. Should a major war ever come to Asia, those challenges could be magnified spectacularly, with hundreds of vessels abruptly leaving the international waters in the middle of the Strait for what they hope might be the relative safety of the national territorial waters of nearby neutral nations.


Dec 08 - Romania's plan to boost Ukraine grain transit very achievable, minister says
Romania's objective to boost the monthly transit capacity for Ukrainian grain through its Black Sea port of Constanta to four million metric tons is edging closer as infrastructure projects advance, the transport minister said on Thursday. Transit through Romania was a record 3 million tons in October alone, minister Sorin Grindeanu said, speaking after a meeting with officials from Ukraine, Moldova, the European Commission and the United States to assess Ukraine's biggest alternative export route for grains.

Dec 08 - South Korea’s MFG bought some 68,000 T corn in private deal - traders
South Korea's Major Feedmill Group (MFG) purchased an estimated 68,000 metric tons of animal feed corn in a private deal on Thursday without issuing an international tender, European traders said. It was expected to be sourced from either the United States, South America or South Africa.


Dec 07 - Suez Canal traffic uninterrupted after ship suffers fault - canal authority
A container ship collided with a floating bridge in the eastern lane of the Suez Canal on Wednesday but the passage of ships through the waterway was not interrupted, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said. Tugboats helped the One Orpheus after it suffered a fault with its rudder while transiting the canal on its way from Singapore to the Netherlands, the authority said in a statement.

Dec 07 - Brazil 2023 soy, corn exports to be record despite Amazonian drought – Anec
Brazilian grain traders will export record volumes of both soybeans and corn in 2023, according to projections released on Wednesday by trade group Anec that reflect a bumper crop and strong demand from China. Brazilian corn exports are expected to reach 55.95 million metric tons in 2023, a 25% increase from last year's level, which was already a record, despite logistics problems caused by a severe drought that slowed grain traffic through Brazil's northern routes in the fourth quarter.


Dec 06 - Ukraine SPIKE_FREIGHT weekly report

Sold freight

- automotive logistics (grain carriers):

· Vinnytsia region, Ukraine - Kiliya, Ukraine @1'600 UAH with VAT

· Ivano-Frankivsk region, Ukraine - Constanta, Romania @90$

· Khmelnytsky region, Ukraine - Constanta, Romania @85$

     In early December, exports by road decreased significantly and amounted to 50 thousand tons as of 04.12, compared to 72 thousand tons in November and 71 thousand tons in October. In December, the total average rate of agricultural products passing across the border decreased to 12,538 tons per day, compared to the same rate in November (18,012 tons) and October (17,886 tons). The largest reduction in capacity to 50% occurred through border posts with Poland - from 6,400 tons in November to 3,200 tons per day on average in December.

A separate market of supply and demand in the direction of the port of Constance from central and western Ukraine is formed in the truck transport market by dump trucks. Rates on average vary between 75-95 euros per ton.

On the roads of Ukraine in the direction of the Black Sea ports, the effects of weather disasters that took place last week are gradually eliminated.

Export of agricultural products by rail across the borders in the direction of Europe continues to decline in December, becoming only 436 cars per day.

The flow of grain carriages continues to balance between the western border and the seaports of Greater Odessa. The average daily rate of processing (unloading) of wagons in the Black Sea ports is gradually increasing and approaching 1000 wagons per day. At the same time, the average daily number of wagons moving towards the Black Sea ports is growing to 5,619 wagons over the four days of December.

Freight rates for rail transportation by European trains from the western border towards northern Italy are already offered at 50-60 euros per ton. In the direction of the port of Gdansk, grain from the western borders can be transported at rates that vary within 40-50 euros per ton.

Export shipments by water in November increased to 4.3 million tons - a record monthly figure since April this year. In particular, 2.7 million tons were exported through the ports of the Black Sea and 1.6 million tons through the ports of the Danube.

Freight rates remained particularly unchanged. There is already a limited offer of the Navy for the transportation of goods from the ports of the Black Sea. At the same time, the supply of the fleet for transportation by the Danube consistently exceeds the demand for transportation, which led to a slight decrease in freight rates compared to last week.

Dec 06 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) were level at $1,620/FEU.

Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) were level at $2,367/FEU.

Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 3% to $1,243/FEU.

Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) rose 12% to $1,670/FEU.

Transpacific ocean rates were level to close November and about even with the start of the month, with prices to the West Coast 22% higher than in 2019 and East Coast rates 9% below the 2019 mark.

Though rates haven’t responded yet, other signs have started emerging that tightening Panama Canal restrictions are starting to impact the container market.  Two more carriers announced upcoming surcharges for containers transiting the canal due to climbing operational costs, and in addition to a handful of vessels that have already taken alternate routes, THE Alliance announced that three Asia - East Coast services will start rerouting via the Suez canal.

The Suez is facing a different set of challenges though, as Houthis in Yemen attacked three more vessels – two bulk carriers, and an OOCL container vessel they determined to have links to Israeli-ownership – and a US Navy ship on Sunday. Some of the ships were slightly damaged by rocket fire, and the Navy destroyer shot down three approaching drones.

With the threat focussed on Israel-linked vessels there has not been a significant impact on vessel flows through the Red Sea yet. However, there have been a handful of examples of Israeli owned vessels diverting from passage through the Suez Canal and Red Sea in favor of sailing around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, including two car carriers, two container vessels operated by Maersk, and at least one by ZIM.

US officials are in talks with other countries about setting up a maritime task force to secure this crucial waterway and reduce the growing threat to traffic there.

In terms of impacts on container rates, ZIM Lines was alone among the carriers in introducing a war risk insurance premium since the start of the war, with Hapag-Lloyd announcing this week new surcharges starting in January for shipments to and from Israel. Freightos Data shows that while the average cost per container for Asia - Mediterranean shipments had increased only 9% by the end of November compared to October, rates from some Chinese origins to Israel climbed between 16% - 36%, suggesting that the war is leading to higher costs for carriers and higher prices for their customers.

Asia - N. Europe rates ticked up last week and prices to the Mediterranean increased 12% with indications that rates are climbing on both lanes on early-month GRIs. The degree to which December’s rate increases will stick though, will depend on the carriers’ ability to reduce capacity to current demand levels.

And that challenge likely won’t be short lived: a recent projection expects Asia - Europe capacity growth to outpace volume growth through 2025, with volumes in 2025 still below 2019 levels. Though the container market in general is dealing with overcapacity, the situation appears particularly acute for Asia - Europe where the record orderbook has already added 400k TEU of capacity in the past year, compared to a 250k TEU reduction in capacity on the transpacific.  

Dec 06 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

China - N. America weekly prices were level at $6.30/kg.

China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 5% to $4.24/kg.

N. Europe - N. America weekly prices rose 2% to $2.14/kg.

In air cargo, some observers think the ex-Asia e-commerce driven bump in air cargo demand could push through until Lunar New Year.  Freightos Air Index data show that China - N. America rates were level but remained elevated at $6.30/kg last week, with China - N. Europe rates dipping 5% to $4.24/kg, and transatlantic rates increasing 2% to $2.14/kg.


Dec 06 - EU 2023/24 soft wheat exports down 18% by Dec 3
Soft wheat exports from the European Union since the start of the 2023/24 season in July had reached 12.52 million metric tons by Dec. 3, down 18% compared with 15.26 million a year earlier, data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. EU barley exports totalled 2.79 million tons, down 1% from 2.81 million tons in the corresponding period in 2022/23, while EU maize imports were at 7.36 million tons, 43% below a year-earlier 12.88 million.

Dec 06 - Lowest FOB offer at Egypt wheat tender at $250/T -traders
The lowest free-on-board offer presented at an Egyptian state purchasing tender for wheat on Tuesday was $250 a metric ton, traders said. Several offers were submitted at that price point.


Dec 05 - Slovak truckers join Polish protesters and block borders with Ukraine (IHSmarkit)

 

 

The Slovak truckers union UNAS pointed out that trucks containing humanitarian goods, military aid, frozen food, or live animals will not be held at borders, and added that it is not opposed to supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia.

“The main reason is the effort to immediately terminate the agreement between the EU and Ukraine, as a result of which the transport market in Slovakia is beginning to collapse,” UNAS wrote in a statement released on 29 November to announce the start of the protest.

“The purpose of the protest is to join the carriers from Poland, which have been blocking their border crossings for almost four weeks. We cannot leave them alone in the fight, which with the beginning of the protest in Slovakia, becomes a common fight,” UNAS wrote.

Transport organizations from Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Lithuania had already raised the issue on 17 November in a joint letter addressed to the European Commission asking to terminate or significantly change the current EU-Ukraine arrangement on road freight carriage.

 

Dec 05 - War risk insurance rates edge up after surge in Red Sea ship attacks
War risk insurance premiums edged up for Red Sea voyages after three vessels were attacked in the area on Sunday and fears grow over worsening perils for commercial shipping, maritime and insurance sources said on Monday. The incidents are the latest in a series of attacks in Middle Eastern waters since a brutal war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas broke out on Oct. 7.  

 

Dec 05 - Ukraine grain exports down at 13.4 mln T so far in 2023/24 – ministry
Ukraine's grain exports have fallen to around 13.4 million metric tons so far in the 2023/24 July-June marketing season, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The ministry said that by Dec. 5 last year, Ukraine had exported 18.3 million tons of grain.

 

Dec 04 - Multiple commercial vessels attacked in Red SeaThree commercial vessels came under attack in international waters in the southern Red Sea, the U.S. military said Sunday, as Yemen's Houthi group claimed drone and missile attacks on two Israeli vessels in the area. The Carney, an American destroyer, responded to distress calls and provided assistance following missile and drone launches from Houthi-controlled territory, according to U.S. Central Command.

 

Dec 04 - South Korea to consult China over urea export delays
South Korea said it will consult China to prevent disruption to urea supplies after Korean companies reported the material was taking longer to pass through Chinese customs on its way to the peninsula. The reports follow calls from China's nitrogen fertiliser association last month to prioritise supplies for domestic use after prices hit a two-year high. They also come after Indian industry figures in September flagged delays at Chinese ports.

 

Dec 01 - Panama Canal Authority increases restrictions (IHSmarkit)

 

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced that it will restrict sea shipping traffic to 18 vessels per day from February 2024 and will launch more special auctions to provide priority in exchange for higher fees.

These restrictions are gradual month by month, following the list below:

 

Precipitation level has been disappointing during the rainy season forcing cuts in the daily transit, after decreasing to 32 vessels/day from July-October, cutting the ship draft to 13.41 meters, down from 14.94, forcing sea shipping companies to lower container and carried weight. This measure is affecting sea shipping traffic between west and east ports in America and Asia, Japan, China and South Korea particularly, and the EU, hitting the oil industry initially but also fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, soybeans, maize, cotton and seafood.

 

Dec 01 - Taiwan buys estimated 109,325 T wheat of U.S. origin
The Taiwan Flour Millers' Association purchased an estimated 109,325 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in a tender on Thursday, European traders said. The purchase involved various wheat types for shipment from the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast in 2024. 

 

Dec 01 - Jordan buys about 60,000 T feed barley in tender - traders
Jordan's state grain buyer has purchased about 60,000 metric tons of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender that closed on Thursday, European traders said. It was bought at an estimated $243.50 a ton c&f for shipment in the second half of February. The seller was believed to be trading house Nestwise. 

 


Nov 30 - report SPIKE FREIGHT Ukraine


The vehicles passing through customs posts on the border with Poland has already decreased below 3 thousand tons of cargo per day, compared to last week's indicator (3.4 thousand tons) and peak values of 7.5 thousand tons per day, which were a month ago.

Crossing cars through checkpoints on the border with Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova remains stable compared to last week.

Difficult weather conditions and sustainable demand for road transport have led to strengthening freight rates both on domestic and international directions.

 

The lack of market mechanisms and the practice of reliable contractual relations in the railway transportation market in Ukraine caused the disruption of more than one export shipment in November. The railway transportation market in Ukraine continues to exist "on one day," which does not give confidence to exporters in the planning of export shipments by rail.

European rail freight rates have stabilised and remain on the Chop-North Italian route in the range of 58-62€ per ton. The projected railway shipments from Chop to northern Italy remain at a high rate within 10-11 days over 1,000 km away, even when the weather conditions have deteriorated.


Container shipments by European trains of grain across the border of Ukraine are gaining active demand. Container freight rates are traded within hopper rates, and they are even cheaper.

 

Freight rates stabilized in all directions. However, in some areas, rates began to increase, in particular for maritime transport in the direction of China. A limited supply of maritime fleet available during military risks can lead to an increase in rates.


Nov 30 - USDA opens applications for $300 mln to help exporters break into new markets
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said it would start accepting applications for an initial $300 million in funding to help U.S. agricultural exporters break into new markets outside China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will make the announcement during a meeting of the President's Export Council at the White House, kicking off the first year of the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP) established by USDA in October. 

Nov 30 - South Korea’s KFA Incheon buys up to 65,000 T corn - traders
The Korea Feed Association (KFA) Incheon section purchased up to 65,000 metric tons of animal feed corn in an international tender which closed on Wednesday, European traders said. It was expected to be sourced optionally from the United States, South America or South Africa.

Nov 29 - India to step up coking coal shipments from Russia - sources
India will step up imports of coking coal, a key material in steel manufacturing, from Russia, as cargoes from top supplier Australia drop and steel mills struggle with rising prices, three government sources and an industry executive said. Steel mills in India, the world's second-biggest crude steel producer, have struggled with patchy supplies of coking coal from Australia, which normally accounts for more than half of India's annual imports of around 70 million tonnes. 

Nov 29 - China's rising copper imports belie manufacturing gloom: Andy Home
China's imports of refined copper have quietly accelerated over recent months, taking volumes to a year-to-date high in October.  Inbound flows have been boosted by catch-up shipments from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where China's CMOC Group was blocked from exporting between June last year and April this year during a prolonged stand-off with the government over taxes.

Nov 28 - Heavy storms bring chaos to Black Sea port logistics (AgriCensus)


- Heavy storms in the Black Sea region have had a major impact on shipping from the vital grains exporting region, raising risks and even preventing normal loading operations over the last few days, trade sources have told Agricensus Monday.

- "éQAIn Russia, the storm has hit the coasts of both the Black Sea and the Azov Sea, reportedly driving the bulk vessel Blue Shark aground after it departed from the port of Taman, while port operations are said to have been either delayed or suspended until the weather improves.

- Ship tracking software shows the 27,000 mt deadweight Blue Shark very close to shore off a Black Sea beach resort, where it appears to have been stuck for three days.

- Local media has also reported that roads and parts of the railways have also been damaged by the weather, but it was not yet clear if the damage could have an impact on grain shipments from the region.

- On the other side of the Black Sea, Romania's Constanta port was also reported to have been closed over the weekend amid winds and a heavy snow storm, but trade sources expect that it will be reopen soon.

Meanwhile, local Romanian media also reported that up to 21 sections of national roads remained closed amid heavy snowfall.

- In Ukraine, the severe weather has also affected port operations in the Black Sea, especially on the Danube.

“Today, ports work mainly for accepting cargo. Sulina and Bystroe are closed, navigation is only inside the canal, and only in special cases. We hope to be able to work tomorrow," one trade source said of the ports along the Danube.

Trade sources also highlighted that even where ports have remained open to accept cargo, and in instances where railway deliveries are being maintained, some terminals are still facing power outages, and operations have been delayed or postponed until the territory is cleared of snow.

- But apart from ports, the roads leading to Black Sea ports were also affected as authorities tried to clear up the consequences of the storm. Thus, currently, the main roads from Odesa to Reni and Odesa to Pivdenniy - key links in the grain export supply chain - are closed for truck movements, which potentially means a delay in cargo deliveries into the ports.

 


Nov 28 - China's thermal coal imports jump, crowding out India: RussellChina's imports of thermal coal in November are poised to surge to the second-highest monthly total this year, helping drive prices higher for the grades most commonly sought by the world's biggest buyer of the power station fuel. Thermal coal imports are expected to be around 29.21 million metric tons in November, up from October's 24.62 million and second only to the 30.21 million in May, according to data compiled by commodity analysts Kpler.

 

Nov 28 - French wheat cargoes for China delayed in export setback -tradersSeveral cargoes of French wheat that had been due to load for China in December have been postponed to March, dampening hopes of an imminent upturn in exports and helping push prices to two-year lows, European traders said on Monday. Chinese buyers are thought to have booked around 2-2.5 million metric tons of French wheat in recent months for shipment between December and March, a welcome flurry of sales for France that has faced stiff export competition from cheaper Black Sea supplies.


Nov 27 - China to enhance iron ore supervision at ports in second intervention this week
China's state planner said on Friday it would strengthen the supervision of iron ore at ports and guard against hoarding and speculation in order to maintain an orderly market, its second move this week aimed at curbing a price rally. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said it had recently held a meeting with major ports, to understand portside iron ore inventory and storage fees at yards.

Nov 27 - Australia climate change activists disrupt shipping at coal port
A climate change protest off Australia's east coast disrupted operations at the country's biggest coal export port on Saturday, the port operator said. Climate activist group Rising Tide, which claimed responsibility for the action, said around 1,500 people were at the protest, 300 of them in the shipping channel near the Port of Newcastle, as part of a 30-hour blockade set to run until 4 p.m. (0900 GMT) on Sunday.


Nov 24 - Polish truckers maintain Ukrainian border blockade, EU predicts impact on trade (IHSmarkit)

- Polish truckers protest liberalized transport regulations for Ukrainian carriers, causing major transport disruptions
- EU officials stated that the blockade is having a significant impact on trade and the economy
- The transport agreement between the EU and Ukraine was implemented in 2022 in response to the Russian invasion

Polish truckers continue to block border crossings with Ukraine, protesting the ongoing liberalization of transport regulations for Ukrainian truckers, citing unfair competition.

The protests, which started on 3 November at the Korczowa-Krakovets crossing , have caused significant transport disruptions. Ukrainian authorities estimate around 20,000 vehicles are stranded on both sides.


The demonstrators have threatened to prolong the blockades until the end of 2023 unless a satisfactory solution is reached. Notably, Polish truckers are demanding the introduction of a permit system to limit the commercial transport of goods between Poland and Ukraine amid a relaxation of the EU’s transport regulations since 2022.


Nov 24 - Ukraine traders concerned over plans to change grain export rules again
Ukrainian traders' union UGA said on Thursday that parliament's "ill-considered" plans to change grain trading rules could completely halt Ukraine's key grain exports. On Nov. 21, a bill passed its first reading in parliament that would change rules on the taxation of grain export transactions and could also introduce minimum export prices for grain.

Nov 24 - Brazil port operator CLI to invest $122 million in Santos port terminal
Brazilian port logistics firm CLI plans to invest 600 million reais in its terminal, the largest in the country for sugar exports, at the Santos port in Sao Paulo state, an executive said on Thursday. The investment, which must be formalized through a contract with the federal government, is expected to boost the capacity of the terminal by 20% to 19 million metric tons per year, said CLI Chief Operating Officer Marcos Pepe Bertoni.

Nov 23 - Severe bottlenecks at South Africa’s ports impacting food trade 22 Nov 2023 (IHSmarkit)

- Delays of several weeks for loading and unloading
- Shipping lines charge extra or blank sailing
- Issues specifically addressed for fruit exports, juice imports, nuts exports and canned fruit

Congestion and extraordinary delays are currently being reported at the port of Durban – the main port in South Africa – in the context of the peak of the export and import season ahead of the imminent Christmas festivities.

The South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAF) estimates that nearly 71,000 containers are stuck on ships either in the Durban harbor or waiting offshore, as local media echoed on 20 November.

Ongoing inefficiency of the country’s container terminals and freight rail network – both infrastructures owned by the public company Transnet – results in the inability to perform adequately at peak times. The bottleneck in these two ports is increasing the pressure in the Cape Town and Ngqura container ports.

Meanwhile, shipping lines are charging extra if not blank sailing at South African ports. With this regard, the SAAF alerts cargo is increasingly being diverted to the port of Maputo in Mozambique and the port of Luanda in Angola, “resulting in a permanent loss of traffic for South Africa”.

South African processors of agricultural food commodities have been forced to learn how to work around these disruptions at ports, since the issues are ongoing for years now. However, the surge of imports for Christmas is worsening the situation these days.

 

Juice

In the juice commercial segment, bottlenecks are affecting imports of apple juice concentrate (AJC) imports from China and imports of grape juice concentrate (GJC) to meet domestic needs.

“The delay in imports of AJC will not have too much of an impact on the local AJC market since most customers use a combination of local and imports and will just use more local suppliers when imports are late. The effect on GJC could be potentially devastating as most GJC is imported in GP (general purpose) containers and GJC is far less stable than AJC so any delay will severely impact the quality of GJC arriving in South Africa. Add to this the fact that there is no domestic manufacturing of GJC and thus very little option to re-work out of product specifications. The risk for imported GJC just escalated, and this will be reflected in the price,” a juice trader said on 21 November.

Chinese shipments of AJC into South Africa significantly increased in the last two years (2021 and 2022) from an average of 35,000 metric tons per year to over 60,000 metric tons: deliveries for the current year so far (January-October) amounted to 37,000 metric tons, down 33% y/y. Meanwhile, South African imports of GJC per year average 12,000 metric tons, mainly shipped from Spain, Argentina and Italy. So far this year (January-September), over 9,000 metric tons have been delivered to the country.

 

Canned fruit

The canned fruit industry in South Africa is export oriented and processors confirmed this week that they are experiencing significant delays. “South African harbors have been operating at inefficient levels over the years and matters have worsened especially in Durban recently. We operate from Cape Town harbor which also has big challenges. We are experiencing delays which translates to additional costs but given the long shelf-life of our products these delays have not resulted in any cancellations. We are the eternal optimists and hope matters improve soon,” a processor said yesterday.

In 2022, South African canned fruit exports under the HS code 200970 (prepared peaches) amounted to 45,000 metric tons delivered across the US, Japan, China and major markets in Europe and Asia. For the year to date (January-September), exports totaled 29,400 metric tons, down 26% y/y.

 

Macadamia nuts

Alex Whyte, sales manager for Europe and the Middle East at Green & Gold Macadamias told S&P Global Commodity Insights: “Durban is in chaos due to poor management. The fresh produce industry is much worse affected due to the fact that they do not have the same shelf life as we do. However, shipments are being pushed back three-four weeks.This is more of an inconvenience for us as we have been relatively proactive booking stock early and also holding spot material in a number of markets to help customers who need to fill a gap in supply should it be the case.”

Whyte added that the impact is not just South Africa though as Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe also use the Durban port for shipments “so it is generally going to squeeze up spot pricing”.


Nov 23 - Ukrainian grain pushes Romania's Constanta port to record volume
Romania's Black Sea port of Constanta shipped a record 29.4 million metric tons of grain in the first 10 months of this year, with supply from Ukraine accounting for 40% of that, the port authority told Reuters. Ukraine is one of the world's biggest grain exporters, and Constanta has become Kyiv's largest alternative export route since Russia invaded it last year, with grains arriving by road, rail or barge across the Danube.

Nov 23 - China inks deals for 110,000 metric tons U.S. SRW wheat in bulk buy
China purchased more U.S. soft red winter (SRW) wheat this week in the country's third large-scale purchase of the grain since early October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Wednesday. In a daily "flash" sales announcement, the USDA confirmed private sales of 110,000 metric tons to China for shipment in the 2023/24 marketing year which began June 1.


Nov 22 - report SPIKE FREIGHT Ukraine


Sold freight :

- railway logistics (grain):

· Ternopil region - Dorohusk, Poland @1'290 UAH with VAT

· Ternopil region - South, Ukraine @1,850 UAH with VAT

- automotive logistics:

· Cherkasy region, Ukraine - Southern, Ukraine @950 UAH with VAT

· Chernihiv region, Ukraine - Pivdennyi, Ukraine @1'650 UAH with VAT

 

- Export shipments of agricultural products by road amounted to 327 thousand tons as of 20.11, compared to 345 thousand tons in October and 337 thousand tons in September. In November, the average vehicle cross-border crossing rate decreased to 16,370 tons in November, compared to the same in October (17,290 tons) and September (16,870 tons). The vehicles pass through customs posts on the border with Poland continues to decline and amounted to 3.7 thousand tons of cargo per day, compared to last week's indicator (4.3 thousand tons) and peak values of 7.5 thousand tons per day, which were a month earlier. The crossing of cars through checkpoints on the border with Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova remains stable compared to last week. Domestic road transport in Ukraine is in high demand because of inefficient and expensive railway logistics. Freight rates in the direction of Europe remain unchanged.

 

- Agroexport by rail in Europe decreased to the average daily load in November - 460 wagons per day. The decrease in the speed of railway transport in Ukraine, including, influenced the reduction of export shipments by this mode of transport in the direction of Europe. The reduction of Ukrainian goods' flow across Western borders has forced European carriers to revise transportation rates since December. The latest freight quotations arepropotyagi from Chop to the North of Italy amounted to 58-62€ per ton. The opposite is the situation in the domestic rail transportation market in Ukraine. Rates in Ukraine have increased significantly over the last week. Not a market situation is the artificial raising of the rates of rail transportation in Ukraine in the surplus of cars and much smaller volumes of domestic transportation than before the war. Many of the railway carriers refused to perform transportation, unable to withstand raising the rates of car rental. Agricultural producers prefer automobile shipments, which are more predictable and, in most cases, more cost-effective.

 

- Export shipments by water transport continue to be distributed between the ports of the Danube and the Black Sea ports. As of 17.11, 404 thousand tons of agricultural products were sent by water transport through the ports of the Danube and 352 thousand tons through the ports of Odessa and Black Sea. Under loading and plans to ship in November 943 thousand tons to the Black Sea ports and 464 thousand tons to the ports of the Danube. Freight rates have decreased both on river and sea transportation. A shortage of cargo in the Danube port market forces rates to decline. On the route Izmail - Ruse freight is 22-24€ for heavy cargo and 26-27€ for sunflower. Panamax corn on the Spanish market can be sent from the Black Sea ports at a rate below $ 40 at least.


Market rates of transportation are available from

https://www.commodity3.com/chain/CSTUKR/ua-freight-index


Nov 22 - High Rhine water levels a headache for European crushers (Agricensus)

- Unusually high water levels on the River Rhine have been causing transport problems in Europe, impacting some European crushers.
At the bottleneck of Kaub, water levels were recorded at 521 cm, unusually high, and creating some headaches for transport.
“Barges have difficulties in berthing since the berths are covered with water,” a source told Agricensus, adding that some vessels were having difficulties getting under the bridges as a result.

- Shipping was also blocked from passing Maxau on the Upper Rhine, where water levels were measured at 760 cm on Tuesday.  
Industry sources had mixed opinions on the impact this could have on the crushing industry, which like many German industries uses the Rhine to move goods to and from plants.
“We see problems – but not yet severe problems, more like delays,” one source said.
“For our line of trade a lot is lifted by truck and rail as well, so it is not entirely depending on barges, but it is, of course, a worry.”

- Other sources were less concerned, with one telling Agricensus they “don't see any main issues for German crush, as most of the German crush industry is along the Rhine River but further up north.” Local forecaster Wetterdienst has predicted the weather will turn drier from Wednesday under a different pressure system after a very wet November saw twice as much rain as average in some regions.

- In tandem, the German Waterways Electronic Service (ELWIS) has predicted lower water levels in the coming days, with levels at Kaub forecast to be between 472 cm and 508 cm by Thursday afternoon. In recent years, transport has been more commonly hit by low water levels, with a dry summer in 2022 causing disruption as heavily laden ships risked scraping the bottom of the river or being stranded.


Nov 22 - EU 2023/24 soft wheat exports down 19% by Nov 19 but data incomplete
Soft wheat exports from the European Union since the start of the 2023/24 season in July had reached 11.59 million metric tons by Nov. 19, down 19% from the 14.29 million tons a year earlier, data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. EU barley exports totalled 2.75 million tons, down 1% from the 2.79 million tons in the corresponding period in 2022/23, while EU maize imports were at 6.56 million tons, 44% below an year-earlier 11.64 million tons.

Nov 22 - Tunisia tenders for 100,000 T soft wheat, 75,000 T feed barley
Tunisia's state grains agency has issued an international tender to purchase about 100,000 metric tons of soft milling wheat and around 75,000 tons of animal feed barley, European traders said on Tuesday. The origin was optional. The deadline for submission of price offers in the tender is Wednesday, Nov. 22.


Nov 21 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) decreased 8% to $1,573/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) decreased 2% to $2,383/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) decreased 7% to $1,291/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 5% to $1,487/FEU.

Ex-Asia ocean rates fell across the major tradelanes last week, showing that carriers’ attempts to increase rates in November with General Rate Increases had limited success.

- Ocean carriers hoped to push rates up by reducing capacity even as seasonal volumes decrease, but Asia - US West Coast and Asia - Mediterranean prices are now about even with mid-October levels. Asia - US East Coast rates, however, are 7% higher than in October and Asia - N. Europe prices are 36% above their extreme lows last month showing some gains through the GRIs, though rates for both lanes remain below 2019 levels.  
Despite falling back to October levels, Asia - US West Coast rates are still 11% above 2019 levels, possibly reflecting the continuing shift of volumes back to the West Coast since the labor dispute there ended this past summer.
- Carriers have announced additional GRIs for December, but many are skeptical these will fare much better than November’s given the ongoing significant overcapacity on these lanes.
- Easing volumes, growing fleet sizes and lagging rates have already led to negative financial impacts for some ocean carriers, with ZIM Lines being the latest and possibly strongest example so far as they recorded a $2B impairment for Q3.
- Though Israel’s war with Hamas has so far not had much impact on ocean logistics, Houthis from Yemen, after threatening to target Israeli ships, hijacked a car carrier vessel in the Red Sea with ties to Israeli owners this week, raising concerns of broader supply chain impacts from the war.
In air cargo, Freightos Air Index data show China - N. America rates fell 6% last week, but remain 11% higher than in October, while China - N. Europe prices rebounded 25% to $4.23/kg and back to their early-month level, following more indications of demand improvements on these lanes, especially from B2C e-commerce shipments.

Nov 21 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices decreased 6% to $5.23/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices increased 25% to $4.23/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices increased 9% to $2.00/kg.

Transatlantic rates increased 9% to $2.00/kg last week to their highest level since June, marking a gradual 21% climb since early October, possibly on improved holiday season demand.


Nov 21 - Venezuela close to approving offshore gas license with Trinidad, Shell
Venezuela is close to approving a license for Shell and the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago to develop a promising offshore natural gas field and export its production to the Caribbean country, two people close to the matter said. Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Keith Rowley on Monday confirmed that the parties were negotiating the license and added that Energy Minister Stuart Young was expected to visit Caracas this week.


Nov 21 - China's carbon emissions set to peak before 2030 - expert poll
China is on tr
ack to meet a goal to bring its climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions to a peak before 2030, according to a poll of 89 experts from industry and academia published on Tuesday, though questions remain over how high the top will be. More than 70% of respondents said China, the world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter, will be able to meet the target, with two saying its emissions had already peaked, in a poll compiled by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), a Helsinki-based think tank.

 

Nov 20 - Grain ship lightly damaged off Ukraine, likely hit sea mine
A merchant ship transporting grains was lightly damaged off the coast of Ukraine and was likely to have been hit by a floating sea mine, according to maritime specialists and a Ukrainian government source. This is the latest incident affecting commercial ships sailing in the Black Sea.  

 

Nov 20 - Russia says first free grain shipments to Africa are on their way
Russia's agriculture minister said on Friday that Moscow had begun free shipments of grain totalling up to 200,000 tonnes to six African countries, as promised by President Vladimir Putin in July. In a statement posted on Telegram, Dmitry Patrushev said that ships headed for Burkina Faso and Somalia had already left Russian ports, and that additional shipments to Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Mali and the Central African Republic would soon follow.


Nov 17 - Ukraine's food exports to Asia, Africa fall due to blocked seaports - association

Ukraine has sharply reduced its exports of farm goods to Asian and African countries so far in 2023 due to blocked seaports in the Black Sea, which has traditionally been the main export route, agricultural business association UCAB said on Thursday. The lion's share of Ukrainian agrarian, metallurgical and chemical exports left the country from the Black Sea ports, which were partially or completely blocked after the Russian invasion in February 2022.

 

Nov 17 - Record US soy sales dent deficit in export bookings, but more needed - Braun

U.S. soybean export sales have been lagging relative to the already-low export target for 2023-24, but a massive volume last week lifted the sales pace closer to the normal range. In the week ended Nov. 9, U.S. exporters sold 3.92 million metric tons of soybeans for shipment in 2023-24, which began on Sept. 1. That is the largest-ever single-week, single-marketing-year volume, trouncing the prior high of 3.19 million tons set in September 2020.


Nov 17 - US sanctions maritime companies, vessels for shipping oil above Russian price cap

The U.S. on Thursday imposed sanctions on maritime companies and vessels for shipping Russian oil sold above the G7's price cap, as Washington seeks to close loopholes in the mechanism designed to punish Moscow for its war in Ukraine. The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said it slapped sanctions on three United Arab Emirates-based companies and three vessels owned by them in the action, accusing the vessels of engaging in the export of Russian crude oil priced above the $60 a barrel cap. It said the vessels used U.S.-person services while transporting the Russian-origin crude oil.

 

Nov 16 - Ukrainian SPIKE FREIGHT report

- Agroexport by road amounted to 220 thousand tons as of 13.11, compared to 226 thousand tons in October and 223 thousand tons in September. The vehicles passing through customs posts on the border with Poland decreased to 4 thousand tons of cargo per day, compared to the peak values of 7.5 thousand tons per day, which were a month earlier. At the same time, car passes through other checkpoints on the border with Romania, Hungary and Moldova are gradually increasing. In November, the average daily allowance for cars with agricultural products for export through customs posts was: 5083 tons per day across the border with Poland (~212 cars); Romania 4314 tons per day (~180 cars); Hungary 3142 tons per day (~130 cars); Slovakia 1340 tons (~56 cars); Moldova 3076 tons (~128 cars). Rates of freight in the direction of Europe remained unchanged.

- Agroexport by rail towards the western borders of Ukraine with Europe remains at the level of the average daily cargo transfer in November - 487 wagons per day. Over the past week, this figure has increased by 23 cars per day, or by +4.96%. The greatest freight traffic remains at the border crossings with Romania and Poland, and the average daily number of cargo transmission through these points was in November 125 cars per day, respectively.
Ukraine has increased the number of trains sent to Europe to 207 cars per day. The average daily number of European trains sent by Ukraine to the tracks with a width of 1435 mm was in November 63 cars from the border terminals at the crossings with Poland, 69 cars with Romania, 37 cars with Hungary and 37 cars with Slovakia.
Raising car rental rates by Ukrzaliznytsia and private owners, which were accepted by the same freight forwarders through public auctions, increased the cost of transportation by 30-40% compared to the rates of October. In addition, the reduction of the speed of cars led to the fact that transportation by cars became more profitable, even at distances from Chernihiv region to the ports of Odessa.
Market rates of railway transportation:

-The market continues to use the Ukrainian sea corridor of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, despite the risks. Freight rates by sea and river transport stabilized and began to decline gradually after the incident in the port of Yuzhny. As of 10.11, 368,000 tons of sea and river transport were shipped, including 191,000 tons by sea and 177,000 tons by river.


Nov 16 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 6% to $1,711/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) climbed 3% to $2,421/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 11% to $1,381/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) increased 1% to $1,551/FEU.

- The latest National Retail Federation US ocean import report shows that peak season extended into September as month on month import volumes climbed 4%. The NRF estimates that October imports decreased – though other measures report climbs through October too – and volumes are projected to decline through the end of the year.
- With peak season now behind us, transpacific rates nonetheless continued to climb moderately from their October lows last week as carriers seek to keep vessels full by reducing capacity. The same was true for Asia - N. Europe prices last week, and more carriers have announced planned December GRIs for the ex-Asia lanes.
- With higher costs and often sub-2019 rates, carriers like Hapag-Lloyd and others saw Q3 profits plunge compared to last year, though many managed to remain profitable. Hapag-Lloyd estimates global volumes will fall 3% this year with capacity growing 8%, and that overcapacity will persist next year as volumes growth of 4% will be outpaced by 6-9% capacity growth. Yang Ming thinks supply and demand could balance out by next year, but sees a worst case of four years until the two are aligned.
- New transit reductions in the Panama Canal are already causing increases in congestion, and impacting some perishables trade between South and North America, though large container carriers have so far not been impacted strongly.
Transatlantic rates increased 9% last week, but at $1,108/FEU remain 43% lower than in 2019. Volumes on this lane were down 27% in September compared to 2022, though seasonal demand is driving an uptick in October and November. Nonetheless, blank sailings have not been significant enough to push rates up.

Nov 16 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices decreased 3% to $5.56/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 20% to $3.38/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices climbed 1% to $1.84/kg.

Freightos Air Index data shows China - N. America prices declined 3% but remain elevated at $5.56/kg last week while China - N. Europe rates fell 20%, back to about their early-September level. Despite the recent transpacific uptick, oversupplied carriers like FedEx are looking for strategies including shifting pilots to the passenger market.


Nov 16 - Ukraine curbs grain deliveries to Odesa port due to railway repairs

Ukraine's state railways said on Wednesday it had restricted grain deliveries to Odesa, one of the country's key Black Sea ports, due to repairs. "Ukrzaliznytsia has started repairing the railway infrastructure on its network, which hinders the movement of freight trains towards the ports of Odesa region," Valeriy Tkachov, deputy director of the commercial department at the railways, said on Facebook.

 

Nov 16 - India to seek steady coking coal supplies from Australia - sources

The Indian government will request Australia to take measures to ensure steady supplies of coking coal, four sources said, as part of efforts to help steel mills reeling from falling supplies and rising prices of the key raw material in steel-making. Nagendra Nath Sinha, the most senior official at India's federal Ministry of Steel, will meet Philip Green, Australia's high commissioner to India, and the two sides are likely to discuss India's need for coking coal, said the sources, who included two Indian government officials and two industry executives.


Nov 16 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 15 NOV23

 


Nov 15 - Ukraine grain exports via new Black Sea corridor hit 4 mln T - Zelenskiy 

Ukraine's exports through an alternative Black Sea shipping corridor have reached almost four million metric tons since the route started operating in August, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday. Ukraine launched a "humanitarian corridor" for ships bound for African and Asian markets to try to circumvent a de facto blockade in the Black Sea after Russia quit a United Nations-brokered deal that had guaranteed Kyiv's seaborne exports during the war.

 

Nov 15 - Tunisia buys about 50,000 T durum wheat in tender - traders

Tunisia's state grains agency is believed to have purchased about 50,000 metric tons of durum wheat in an international tender seeking the same volume on Tuesday, European traders said. It was said to have been bought in two consignments of 25,000 tons, they said.


Nov 14 - Iran's SLAL issues tenders for 180,000 T corn, 120,000 T soymeal

Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL has issued international tenders to purchase up to 180,000 metric tons of animal feed corn and 120,000 tons of soymeal, European traders said on Monday. The deadline for submission of price offers in the tenders is Tuesday, Nov. 14, they said.

 

Nov 14 - Tunisia tenders to buy about 50,000 metric tons durum wheat

Tunisia's state grains agency has issued an international tender to purchase about 50,000 metric tons of durum wheat, European traders said on Monday. The deadline for submission of price offers in the tender is Tuesday, Nov. 14.

 

Nov 13 - Ukraine corridor freight costs up after missile attack, brokers say

Freight costs for ships using Ukraine's alternative export corridor have risen following an attack on a cargo vessel in the Black Sea off Odesa, brokers said on Friday. Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday a Russian missile damaged a Liberia-flagged civilian ship entering a Black Sea port in the Odesa region, killing one person and injuring four others. The vessel was supposed to transport iron ore to China.

 

Nov 13 - Ukraine raises grain deliveries to Black Sea ports - railways

The number of rail wagons heading to the ports of Ukraine's Odesa region continued to rise over the past week thanks to the successful operation of the alternative Black Sea exports corridor, a senior railways official said late on Thursday. Valeriy Tkachov, deputy director of the commercial department at Ukrainian Railways, said on Facebook that over the last week the number of grain wagons heading to Odesa ports increased by more than 26% to 5,341 from 4,227.


Nov 10 - Ukraine: Alternative Black Sea export corridor is working despite attack
Ukraine's alternative Black Sea export corridor is working despite a recent Russian attack on a civilian vessel, Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Thursday. Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday a Russian missile damaged a Liberia-flagged civilian ship entering a Black Sea port in the Odesa region, killing one person and injuring four others. The vessel was supposed to transport iron ore to China. 

 

Nov 10 - Indonesia fires thermal coal exports to new highs: Maguire
Indonesia's exports of thermal coal surpassed 413 million metric tons over the first ten months of 2023, a new high cementing its status as the largest exporter of the high-emission power fuel. Indonesian shipments jumped 11.5% from the same period in 2022, roughly twice the growth rate of total global coal exports that are on track to touch new highs in 2023 despite efforts to transition several major energy systems away from fossil fuels.

 

Nov 09 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS

 

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov Sea market is currently at similar levels to last week. However, some owners are reporting that Charterers are only willing to pay usd low-mid 50's pmt bss 3/5'k wheat ex Rostov to Marmara. There are several available vessels looking for competitive freight rates, indicating a relatively balanced market. Additionally, impending export bans on durum wheat from Russia starting in December have led to a significant increase in freight rates to Italy (for 5-15 usd pmt), as Italy is the main importer of durum wheat from Russia.

 

BALTIC SEA: The Baltic Sea market is firm and slowly firming up further this week.

 

CASPIAN SEA: Freight levels are trending lower this week. Shipowners are trying to keep the market at high levels, but most exporters have already fulfilled their contracts and now do not want to force things and ship at low rates.

 

FAR EAST: The region remains more/less stable in recent days. Some owners are trying to manipulate rates, citing increased costs for marine fuel. But the large number of open vessels prevents this scheme from being executed


Nov 09 - China buys more US soy in second day of active purchases - traders
Chinese importers bought at least five more U.S. soybean cargoes on Wednesday in a second day of active buying after booking their largest purchases in months a day earlier, two U.S. exporters familiar with the deals said. The purchases, containing some 300,000 metric tons of the oilseed, were for shipment from U.S. Gulf Coast and Pacific Northwest ports between December and March, they added. 

 

Nov 09 - South Korea’s KFA buys estimated 65,000 T corn - traders
The Korea Feed Association (KFA) purchased an estimated 65,000 metric tons of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from South America or South Africa in an international tender on Wednesday, European traders said. The price was estimated at $258.80 a ton c&f plus a $1.00 a ton surcharge for additional port unloading. Seller was believed to be trading house Cargill.


Nov 08 - Ukraine SPIKE_FREIGHT report :


- As of 06.11, exports of agricultural products by road in November amounted to 105 thousand tons, compared to 108 thousand tons in October and 101 thousand tons in September. Due to the strikes and obstacles on the Polish border, road haulers increased the volume of cargo transportation through the territory of Hungary and Slovakia. The average daily rate for cars with agricultural products for export through customs posts in November: across the border - with Poland 5989 tons per day (~250 cars)

- with Romania 4022 tons per day (~167 cars)

-  with Hungary 3091 tons per day (~128 cars)

-  with Slovakia 1544 tons (~64 cars)

-  with Moldova 2889 tons (~120 cars).

The decrease in shipments towards Bulgaria and Romania caused the freight rates to be adjusted by 10-15€ per ton in these directions. Active shipments in the direction of Italy support freight rates at a stable level in this direction. With the resumption of export shipments through the Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea, freight rates for domestic transportation in this direction have risen.

 

- The total volume of export shipments by rail in October 2023 amounted to 4.88 million tons, which is more by 1.30 million tons or by +36% compared to September of this year. In the structure of export traffic by rail for October 2023, the first place is iron and manganese ore 1.93 million tons (39%), second place - grain cargoes 1.73 million tons (35%), third - ferrous metals 0.33 million tons (7%). In October 2023, the volume of export of grain cargoes by rail amounted to 1730.6 thousand tons, which is 61% more than in September, including in the direction of ports 982.6 thousand tons, which is 3.2 times more than in September 2023, and in the direction of Western border crossings 748 thousand tons, which is 2.6% less than in September.

The decrease in shipments towards the western borders should lead to a reduction in the rates of the European railway. Players are waiting.

Rates of rail transportation in Ukraine increased by 10-15$ per ton. The sudden activity of exporters in shipments towards seaports and the lack of the possibility of fixing railway transportation rates for future periods created an excessive excitement in the spot on rail transport and raising rates in this direction.

 

- Active use of the Ukrainian Navy's maritime corridor by the participants of the market gives confidence and increases the shipment volumes. Sea freight rates for using the corridor continue to decline by 2-4$ per ton depending on the direction. A reduction in the flow of goods across the ports of the Danube resulted in a reduction in the river freight rates towards Constanta to €25-32 per ton. Also, the rates of freight on ships of the class "river-sea" have decreased in different directions on average by 10$ per ton.

Nov 08 - Jordan buys estimated 60,000 T wheat in tender - traders
Jordan's state grains buyer purchased about 60,000 tonnes of hard milling wheat to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender on Tuesday, traders said. It was bought from trading house Ameropa at an estimated $276.00 a metric ton cost and freight (c&f) for shipment in the first half of February, they said. 

Nov 08 - Algeria buys milling wheat in tender - traders
Algerian state grains agency OAIC has bought milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Tuesday, European traders said. Purchases reported were all around $266 a metric ton, cost and freight (c&f) included, they said.

Nov 07 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 3% to $1,609/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) climbed 7% to $2,357/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 18% to $1,249/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) increased 13% to $1,551/FEU.

- Ex-Asia ocean rates climbed across the board last week on early-month GRIs and further capacity reductions. Transpacific prices increased 3% to the West Coast to about $1,600/FEU, 12% higher than in 2019, and 7% to the East Coast to $2,357/FEU, a level still 14% lower than pre-pandemic.
The Panama Canal Authority will reduce daily transits to about half their normal level over the next three months as the drought there stretches on, raising the possibility of reduced capacity and higher rates to the East Coast or diversions to the West Coast.
- However, though there have already been examples of carriers offloading containers to meet draft restrictions, for the most part container flows have not been impacted significantly to date as container ship transits are prioritized through reserved slots booked in advance.
In terms of the impact of the upcoming restrictions, an average of about five of the very large container ships that account for a big share of transpacific container traffic to the East Coast pass through the larger, neopanamax, canal each day. Authorities will reduce daily neopanamax transits to five by February, suggesting that even at their most extreme, restrictions could still accommodate container traffic reasonably well.
- Other shipping segments that depend on the larger locks, mostly natural gas and petroleum carriers, will likely bear the brunt of these reductions. Many gas carriers started using longer alternatives to the canal earlier in the year, and spiking spot rates for those markets suggest that those accommodations will increase as restrictions intensify.
- Starting in January, the Suez Canal will increase northbound fees by 15% or up to $100,000 per vessel, which could increase costs for Asia - Europe shippers or lead to some additional West Coast or Panama Canal traffic from transpacific volumes as carriers seek to reduce costs.
Carriers are especially under pressure to push Asia - Europe rates up, as ocean contract negotiations need to be finalized before the end of the year and long-term rates typically are set relative to spot levels (transpacific contracts renew in May).  Indeed, Asia - N. Europe rates climbed 18% last week to $1,250/FEU, with increases so far this week bringing prices about level with 2019. Asia - Mediterranean rates increased 13% to $1,550/FEU, back to 5% above 2019 levels.
But carriers are announcing Asia - Europe December GRIs that would push prices to the same $1,750 - $2,000/FEU level hoped for through November’s GRIs, suggesting they don’t expect to reach those levels this month.
- Normalizing demand levels, overcapacity and inflationary pressure on costs are already negatively affecting carriers’ financial performance, meaning restoring rates to pre-pandemic levels may not be enough to avoid losses. Maersk announced that its ocean division lost $27M in Q3 and plans to reduce its headcount by 10,000 by the end of the year. Some anticipate downsizing among forwarders for the same reasons.

Nov 07 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices increased 21% to $5.72/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 2% to $4.21/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices increased 2% to $1.82/kg.

- In air cargo, recent increases in volumes and rates out of Asia have many hopeful that we’re seeing the start of an air peak season this year and a good indication for retailer expectations for Black Friday and beyond. Freightos Air Index rates for China - N. America spiked 21% to $5.72/kg last week. Prices for China - N. Europe dipped 2% to $4.21/kg though both lanes are now at their highest levels since April. 

Nov 07 - China October coal imports fall 14.6% on record stocks, lower domestic prices
China's October coal imports fell 14.6% compared to the prior month, customs data showed on Tuesday, as domestic prices declined and stocks held at record levels. Imports, which totalled 35.99 million metric tons, were up 23.3% from the same month a year earlier, according to the General Administration of Customs. 

Nov 07 - Lagging US wheat shipments plunge to all-time low -Braun
U.S. wheat shipments typically weaken at this time of year as soybean exports take the stage, but last week’s decline was unprecedented, reflecting the United States’ shrinking share of world wheat trade. Only 71,608 metric tons of U.S. wheat were inspected for export in the week ended Nov. 2, the lowest for any week since records began in January 1983. That surpasses the previous low of 85,672 tons set in late December 2022.

Nov 06 - Asian seaborne thermal coal demand picking up, but prices stay soft: Russell
Demand for seaborne thermal coal in Asia is starting to pick up ahead of peak winter consumption, but prices are still trending weaker as soft European imports force suppliers to shift destinations for their exports. Lower domestic prices in top importer China are also helping keep seaborne prices subdued as suppliers look to remain competitive in the world's largest producer and consumer of the fuel used mainly to generate electricity. 

Nov 06 - Algeria tenders to buy nominal 50,000 T soft milling wheat - traders
Algeria's state grains agency OAIC has issued an international tender to buy soft milling wheat to be sourced from optional origins, European traders said on Sunday. The tender sought a nominal 50,000 metric tons but Algeria often buys considerably more in its tenders than the nominal volume sought.

Nov 03 - Ukraine food exports rose 15% in Oct thanks to new sea corridor - association
Ukrainian grain agricultural export rose by 15% to 4.8 million metric tons in October versus September thanks to a new Black Sea export corridor, the UCAB agricultural business association said on Thursday. The association said in a statement grain exports rose by 20% to 2.5 million tons, while vegetable oils shipments added 6% and totalled 508,700 tons. 

Nov 03 - US coal exports to EU jump after Russia sanctions kick in, EIA says
The United States saw a 22% jump in coal exports to Europe, substituting Russian supply in the 12 months after the European Union's sanctions took effect in August 2022, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday. The increased shipments to Europe were almost exclusively behind a rise of 5.7 million short tons (MMst) in total U.S. coal exports between August 2022 and July 2023 over the same period before the sanctions kicked in, the EIA said.

Nov 02 - China's 2023 soybean imports seen at record 105 mln metric tons on strong Q4 arrivals
China's soybean imports are likely to stay high through the fourth quarter, taking 2023 purchases to an all-time record, but lacklustre demand from loss-making hog farms is seen reducing purchases in early 2024, traders and analysts said. Record Brazilian soybean supplies are expected to dominate China's imports in the last three months of the year, they said, citing better oil and meal quality, reducing demand for U.S. cargoes in the world's biggest market for the oilseed. 

Nov 02 - Ukraine exported 3 mln T food via seaports and Danube in October - brokers
Ukraine exported 3 million metric tons of food in October from its Black Sea ports and ports of the Danube River, Spike Brokers, which regularly tracks and publishes export statistics in Ukraine, said on Wednesday. It gave no comparative figures. Agriculture ministry data showed that 2.3 million tons of agricultural goods left Ukrainian ports in September.

Nov 01 - Ukrainian SPIKE_FREIGHT report

Sold freight
- automotive logistics (dump truck):
· Ternopil region, Ukraine - cent. Lithuania @120€
- automotive logistics (tent):
· Volyn region, Ukraine - Mon. Italy @110€
- automotive logistics (tanks):
· Kirovohrad Rgn., Ukraine - Ruse, Bulgaria @165$
- railway logistics (grain):
· Volyn region - Chop, Ukraine @1070 with VAT

- Ukrainian exporters increase shipments of agricultural products by road.
As of 30.10, exports of agricultural products by road in October amounted to 526 thousand tons, compared to 514 thousand tons last month.
The gradual development of European markets with the supply of direct processors by road transport, building sustainable relations and working with the expectations of end customers allows you to increase direct exports.
The average daily rate for cars with agricultural products for export through customs posts in October: across the border with Poland 6111 tons per day (~254 cars); with Romania 4176 tons per day (~174 cars); with Hungary 2980 tons per day (~124 cars); with Slovakia 1388 tons (~57 cars); with Moldova 2885 tons (~120 cars).
Rates of car freight are stabilized in all directions. The supply of cars is stable and gradually growing. The most desirable directions of transportation from carriers are Turkey, Germany and Poland. This is due primarily to the active trade turnover with these countries and a greater opportunity to take the return cargo to Ukraine.

- Exporters continue to steadily ship goods by rail towards the western borders of Ukraine with Europe.
In October, the total average daily transmission of goods across Western borders was 473 weights/day; during the last week, the indicator decreased by 6 weights/day or -1.25%. The largest goods flow by rail is at border crossings with Romania and Poland. The average daily share of the transfer of goods through these items was in October 125.41 weight/day and 116.45 weight/day, respectively.
Ukraine deepens the transport integration into Europe and increased the share of shipments of agricultural products from Ukraine by European-gauge wagons 1435 mm wide. The share of such shipments has already reached 50% of the total number or about 400 thousand tons per month.
The increase in demand for shipping in the direction of the Black Sea ports allowed operators to stabilize the rates of transportation, and in some areas even to increase the rates.

- Total exports of agricultural products by sea and by the river in October amounted to about 3 million tons.
The use of an alternative sea corridor is limited by daily restrictions on the number of ships to enter and exit. These restrictions are set by the Ukrainian Navy to ensure the safety of the convoy.
The resumption of export shipments by sea reduces the flow of goods towards the Danube. As a result, the freight rates are reduced by the river.
As a result of stable shipments to the sea corridor, it is worth noting the stabilization and gradual reduction of freight rates in this direction.

Nov 01 - Panama canal says will slash booking slots due to drought
The Panama Canal, one of the world's main maritime trade routes, will further reduce daily ship crossings in the coming months due to a severe drought, the authorities managing the canal said late on Monday, increasing shipping costs.
Booking slots will be cut to 25 per day starting Nov. 3 from an already reduced 31 per day, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said in a client advisory, and will be gradually reduced further over the next three months to 18 slots from Feb. 1.  

Nov 01 - Brazil's Paranagua port berth to resume ops on Nov. 4 - shipping agent
Shipping agent Cargonave said on Tuesday Berth 201 on the West Corridor of Brazil's Paranagua port would tentatively resume operations on Saturday, according to a note to clients citing information received from the local port authority. Previously, Cargonave had said operations would resume on Thursday, a decision that the port authority "revoked", according to an updated statement from the shipping agent.

Nov 01 - Brazil's Paranagua Shed 201 berth in new delay after fire: agency- A terminal in the Brazilian port of Paranagua that had been closed after a fire earlier this week is now expected to resume activities by November 4, shipping agency Cargonave has said in a note to clients Tuesday. The agency had previously passed on advice that operations could restart on Thursday, November 2, after inspections were carried out on Monday, October 30."Port Administration just informed that the authorization to resume the operation at Shed 201, which was expected for November 2, was revoked," the agency's note said.- However, the update cited a delay as port administrators wait for "the green light from some other authorities responsible for checking the main structures."
The new restart date still needs to be officially confirmed.- A fire broke out late Saturday night and early Sunday morning and destroyed approximately 400 meters of conveyor belts at berth 201, which accommodates operations of both Cavalca Port Administration (CAP) and Bunge, according to a note to clients from shipping agency Williams Brazil. CAP and Bunge have separate operations at the berth. While Bunge's terminal was not damaged by the fire and its operations were only partially affected, the CAP terminal has been shut down and has no clear timeline for reopening.“Our unloading operations are currently halted until the port authorities and the Fire Department complete their damage assessment," Bunge said in a statement, adding that their exports were not affected.- Three Cargill vessels that were loading or about to load in the CAP terminal before the fire with an estimated joint cargo of 185,600 mt of soybeans - at least 116,000 mt bound to China - have been redirected to other terminals, sources said. While berth 201 is mainly used for exports of sugar, there were four vessels waiting to load soybeans, including three from Cargill and one from Cofco, according to Cargonave line-up data.- Portos do Paraná, the public company that administers the ports of Paranaguá and Antonina, said in a note that operations at berth 201 are being carried out "in direct loading and unloading mode", using vessel cranes."The automated boarding system, via conveyor belt, should be normalized in the coming days", Portos do Paraná said, without giving a date.- According to the company, only two ships that were scheduled for berth 201 were relocated to another berth in the Port of Paranaguá."The other eight ships will embark at berth 201 via the Bunge terminal", the company said.
- Global importers have started to ask exporters to exclude Paranagua loading for 2024 shipments, a Brazil-based source said. The port of Paranagua, one of Brazil’s key routes for exporting soybeans, corn and soy products to global markets, has been facing severe headwinds for several months. The fire came as excessive rains had already been adding to large shipping delays resulting from the combination of soybean and corn volumes competing for port capacity.

Oct 31 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 4% to $1,564/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) climbed 3% to $2,213/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 8% to $1,056/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 2% to $1,370/FEU.

- Transpacific ocean rates ticked up slightly last week with prices level overall since early October. This relative stability shows carriers are having some success creating a new price floor through capacity reductions even as volumes ease and fleet sizes grow.
- West Coast rates of $1,564/FEU are 15% higher than 2019 levels while prices of $2,213/FEU to the East Coast are 17% lower than in 2019. Likewise, West Coast rates remain 17% above mid-July, pre-peak season, levels while East Coast prices are now lower than in July, possibly reflecting reports of some shift of volumes back to the West Coast now that labor issues there have been resolved.
- And though, so far, low-water restrictions in the Panama Canal haven’t seemed to impact container flows significantly, the Panama Canal Authority just announced that it will reduce daily transits from 34 – their level since July – to 24 in November, 20 in January and down to just 18 by February.  This significant reduction could increase the likelihood that more ex-Asia volumes will go to the West Coast or via the Suez Canal in the coming months.
- Asia - N. Europe rates increased 8% last week and are just 5% below 2019 levels but remain in loss making territory as carriers continue to struggle with overcapacity on the lane as reflected in reports that carriers will push planned early-month GRIs to later in November.
- Carriers are facing similar difficulties on the transatlantic where some daily rates dipped below $1K/FEU last week. Some carriers announced planned GRIs for mid-November to push rates to $1,600/FEU, but these increases will only stick if liners can finally bring capacity down to the level of demand.
- On the industry level, overcapacity is estimated to peak next year, after which some carriers expect the market to balance out, while some analysts expect the market to be in some state of oversupply through 2028.

Oct 31 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices decreased 2% to $4.73/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices climbed 11% to $4.30/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices increased 4% to $1.78/kg.

In air cargo, there are signs that global volumes are increasing. Freightos Air Index China - N. America rates dipped by 2% last week, but at $4.73/kg are 36% higher than in early August. Recent increases in e-commerce volumes and significantly fewer passenger flights than in 2019 are likely contributing to rising rates. Asia - N. Europe prices increased 11% last week to $4.30/kg, a 40% increase since early September and their highest level since April.

Oct 31 - Ukraine boosts grain deliveries to Black Sea ports as new export route working
The success of Ukraine's new Black Sea export corridor has led to a sharp increase in the number of rail wagons heading to the ports of Odesa region, a senior railways official said on Monday. Valeriy Tkachov, deputy director of the commercial department at Ukrainian Railways, said on Facebook that over the last week the number of grain wagons heading to Odesa ports increased by more than 50% to 4,032 from 2,676. 

Oct 31 - Brazil's Paranagua port shuts down berth after fire
The administration of Brazil's Paranagua port shut down for repairs of a berth used for grains and sugar loading after a fire over the weekend damaged a conveyor belt and other structures at the site, local authorities said on Monday. Paranagua, located in the southern state of Parana, is the second largest port in Brazil and a main hub for exports of grains and sugar, as well as for imports of fertilizer.

Oct 30 - Cargo ships moving via Ukraine's Black Sea corridor after 3-day pause -STC
Four vessels left Ukrainian Black Sea ports in the Odesa region on Friday as shipping via a new export corridor resumed after a three-day pause, independent transport sector consultancy STC said. "On October 27, vessel traffic in the temporary Black Sea corridor announced by Ukraine resumed," STC said in a report. 

Oct 30 - Dire Argentine crop spells opportunity for US soymeal exporters -Braun
U.S. soybean meal exports are well on their way to new highs this season with big weekly sales volumes rolling in after a terrifically bad soybean harvest in top soymeal supplier Argentina earlier this year. The United States has been perfectly poised to step up soymeal shipments as low-carbon fuel mandates and the soybean-oil boom have pushed U.S. soybean processing to record levels.

Oct 27 - Nine vessels enter Ukraine Black Sea ports Friday, proving ports are working (AgriCensus)

Nine new vessels have entered the Great Odesa ports area and four left on Friday, confirming market sources' estimates and proving that Ukraine's humanitarian corridor is still working despite a two-to-three day pause in operations, vessel tracking applications showed.

The nine newly arrived vessels have a total summer deadweight of 215,000 mt, including one chemical tanker.

That comes after a misunderstanding on Thursday, October 26, suggested corridor work had been suspended due to military risks, which turned out to be a temporary pause, while trade sources said that the shipments would continue on Friday.

The new movements also pushed the total number of vessels that have already entered the humanitarian corridor to 51, including 25 that have now left the country, according to the data available.

Back on August 10, Ukrainian authorities announced a humanitarian export corridor safeguarding shipments from and to the Black Sea ports of Pivdenniy, Odesa and Chornomorsk (POC), with first vessels arriving on September 17.

Oct 27 - Ukraine says its Black Sea grain corridor is working
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov denied on Thursday reports by Ukrainian and British firms that the new Black Sea export corridor had been suspended. "The information regarding the cancellation or unscheduled stoppage of the temporary #Ukrainian_corridor for the movement of civilian vessels from and to the ports of the Big Odesa (region) is false," Kubrakov said on X, formerly Twitter. 

Oct 27 - India cuts floor price for basmati rice exports to revive shipments
India has cut the floor price for basmati rice exports to $950 per metric ton from $1,200, a government source told Reuters on Thursday, after farmers and exporters complained it was damaging the trade by stalling shipments. India had imposed a $1,200 per ton minimum export price (MEP) on basmati rice shipments in August to keep a lid on local prices ahead of key state elections.

Oct 26 - Fortescue's quarterly iron ore shipments fall 3% on maintenance
Australian miner Fortescue reported a 3% drop in its quarterly iron ore shipments because of increased maintenance and lower port stockpiles, while operational problems at its Iron bridge project limited processing. Fortescue, which is reeling from the impact of an executive exodus, shipped 45.9 million tons of the steel-making commodity in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with 47.5 million tonsa year ago, it said in a statement. 

Oct 26 - Ukraine grain exports have fallen to 8.56 mln T so far in 2023/24 - ministry
Ukraine's grain exports have fallen to 8.56 million metric tons so far in the 2023/24 July-June marketing season, agriculture ministry data showed on Wednesday. The ministry gave no direct comparative data, but said that by Oct. 28 last year, Ukraine had exported 12.34 million tons of grain.

Oct 26 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 25 OCTOBER 2023.

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA
: The Azov Sea market is still unstable. Still there is a gap between market fixtures reported for the same cargoes. According to Owners information, some Charterers are paying up to usd 50 pmt fiost bss 3'k wheat (sf 46') ex Rostov to Marmara. Wheat shipments are generally fetching good prices. And for commodities like wbp and sfs meal prices in Turkey have dropped down. A number of vessels from the Azov Sea are planning to go to Caspian Sea for winter resulting in less tonnage available in the Azov Sea trade.

CASPIAN SEA: The situation in the Caspian basin continues to get more complicated. Exporters are actively fulfilling current contracts, which leads to another increase in freight rates. Vessels arriving from the Azov-Black Sea basin appear on the market. There is a possibility that this will lead to an improvement in the situation in the near future.

BALTIC SEA: During the past week, the Baltic Sea market has become more stable. There is an increased presence of cargo in the market, and in order to meet the demands of Owners, they are willing to pay higher rates. Owners are indicating prices in the mid euro 40’s pmt fiost bss 3’k flaxseeds ex Ust-Luga to Ghent in prompt dates.

FAR EAST: Over the past week, there have been no significant changes in this region. However, a potential decline in freight levels is anticipated due to the increasing availability of vacant tonnage in Russian Federation ports.

Oct 25 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) decreased 3% to $1,499/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) fell 4% to $2,141/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 3% to $978/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 5% to $1,400/FEU.

The latest data from September showed continued strength among US consumers as retail spending increased .07% compared to August. At the same time, there are multiple signs that a slowdown could be coming including some spending pull-back among lower-income consumers, a falling personal saving rate, and an increase in debt delinquencies.

Reports by many major retailers that inventories are now under control is a positive sign for the possibility of a restocking cycle after the holidays if spending holds up. But the run down of those inventories in the last few months also meant less importing and a relatively short and subdued peak season this year.

Demand continues to ease into the typical post-peak season pre-Lunar New Year lull, but transpacific rates may be leveling off at a new floor as carriers work to reduce capacity. Prices to the West Coast fell 3% last week but are about even with the early-October level of $1,500/FEU. Rates to the East Coast decreased 4% and are 5% lower than at the start of the month. In addition to significant blanked sailings, THE Alliance also announced this week that they will suspend one East Coast service starting in mid-November until further notice.

Asia - N. Europe rates remained below $1,000/FEU last week. Major European ports reported lower Q3 volumes than last year, with overall Asia - N.Europe volumes falling in August after climbing the previous two months. Some analysts project year on year growth for the trade lane in Q4, but rates are likely to be much lower than last year pointing to ongoing struggles with overcapacity.  

More carriers have announced Asia - N. Europe GRIs planned for November to try and push rates up to profitable levels. Like on the transpacific, carriers are suspending Asia - N. Europe services alongside slow-steaming and blanked sailings in the hopes of bringing capacity in line with demand.

But, industry-wide, ships with a total capacity of more than a million TEU are already idled, and some analysts are predicting that capacity growth will outstrip volume growth at least through 2024. These trends mean carriers will face the continued challenge of aligning supply with demand, downward pressure on rates and possible losses next year and beyond.

Oct 25 - Air rates - Freightos Air index


- China - N. America weekly prices were level at $4.80/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices increased 4% to $3.86/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices increased 1% to $1.71/kg.

Oct 25 - EU 2023/24 soft wheat exports at 9.33 mln T, down 22%
Soft wheat exports from the European Union since the start of the 2023/24 season in July had reached 9.33 million metric tons by Oct. 22, down 22% compared with 11.98 million a year earlier, data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. A breakdown of the data showed Romania remained the biggest EU soft wheat exporter so far in 2023/24, with 2.57 million tons shipped, followed by France with 1.83 million, Poland with 1.65 million, Bulgaria with 937,000 and Lithuania with 890,000. 

Oct 25 - Ukraine exports 700,000 T grain via new Black Sea corridor - minister
About 700,000 metric tons of grain have been exported through Ukraine's new Black Sea export corridor since it began operating in August, the Ukrainian agriculture minister said. Ukraine launched a "humanitarian corridor" to release ships bound for African and Asian markets, and to circumvent a de facto blockade after Russia abandoned a deal this summer that had guaranteed its exports during the war.

Oct 24 - Ukrainian Danube prices rise amid complex logistics, tax inspections (AgriCensus)

- Prices for corn and wheat in the Danube shallow water ports increased late last week amid the rising complexity of logistics along with inspections held in the ports by Ukrainian authorities, trade sources told Agricensus.- Despite the freight rates decreasing for vessels leaving Danube ports, the cargo flow has not improved due to other problems such as weather conditions limiting navigation in a move that has not helped to ease huge queues of vessels waiting to exit or enter the Sulina canal. Trade sources say at least 75 vessels are currently waiting. But that has come alongside an increase in checks carried out by the Ukrainian authorities in the fight against incorrect taxation in Danube ports - a measure that has piled extra pressure on the activity.- Current circumstances have led to a significant reduction of FOB basis offers in the Danube shallow water ports, traders are now mostly closing previously signed contracts, according to the trade sources. The lack of offers forced buyers to reconsider their bid ideas, pushing levels higher as they try to tempt sellers out.- Buying ideas for corn on a FOB basis rose from $155-157/mt to $160-165/mt for spot delivery, and the interest ideas for feed wheat also have moved higher to $160-mid $160/mt FOB Reni/Izmail in the space of a week.- Buying interest for corn on a domestic CPT Reni basis was seen at $137/mt amid the $118-125/mt CPT deep-sea ports basis.While the Ukrainian authorities were said to be holding inspections to check the tax documentation for companies operating in ports for export, the measures are mostly focused on companies trading in cash, trade sources have said. The investigation is asking companies to supply the documents confirming that tax has been paid, although it appears that other companies were also affected, with vessels being stopped from loading and some cargoes have not been able to be delivered on time.

Oct 24 - Ukraine's farmers look to new Black Sea route to boost food exports
Agricultural producers in Ukraine say a new Black Sea corridor could enable exports of up to 2.5 million metric tons of food a month, almost offsetting the impact of Russia's decision to quit a U.N.-brokered deal to allow grain shipments through the region. The export deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey collapsed in July as Russia declined to recognise it, saying its demand that sanctions be lifted on its grain and fertiliser exports had not been met. 

Oct 24 - Russian wheat export prices fell last week, but some demand emerged
Russian wheat export prices declined again last week, but analysts see demand picking up at these levels. The price of 12.5%-protein Russian wheat scheduled for free-on-board (FOB) delivery in the latter part of November was $224 per metric ton last week, down $1 from the week before, the IKAR agriculture consultancy reported.

Oct 23 - Tanzania signs deals with DP World to operate Dar es Salaam port berths
Tanzania on Sunday signed agreements with Dubai state-owned ports operator DP World to operate part of the Dar es Salaam port for 30 years, a deal that has previously been opposed by Tanzania opposition and rights groups. Plasduce Mbossa, director general of state-owned Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) which currently manages the port, said DP World will lease and operate four of the 12 berths at the country's largest port.

Oct 23 - China export curbs choke off shipments of gallium, germanium for second month
China's curbs on exports of gallium and germanium products choked off international shipments of the chipmaking metals for a second consecutive month, customs data for September showed on Friday. China's exports of wrought germanium products stood at 1 kilogram, versus zero in August after a flurry of buying prior to the restrictions saw shipments of wrought products surge to 8.63 metric tons in July.

Oct 20 - Crunch time for Brazil ports as coffee flow hit, sugar faces delays
Brazil's commodities export hubs are strained with record volumes of soy, corn and sugar to be moved at a time of the year when rains start to increase in southern ports, according to traders, analysts and shipping data. Exporters are reporting delays in coffee shipments due to a tight availability of trucks and containers, while loading waiting times for vessels have jumped, resulting in additional costs for traders and delays for the commodities to reach destinations. 

Oct 20 - China's Sept soybean imports from Brazil rise 23% from a year ago
China's soybean imports from Brazil rose in September by 23% from a year earlier, data showed on Friday, after a huge crop produced by the South American nation this year continued to reach the world's top buyer. China imported 6.88 million metric tons of the oilseed from Brazil last month, according to the General Administration of Customs, the highest for September in three years.

Oct 19 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 18 OCTOBER 2023

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov Sea region is unstable. There are numerous available vessel positions seeking Azov Sea cargoes, however, Owners are attempting to increase rates. The waiting period at Kerch strait ranges from a few days to as long as two weeks.

CASPIAN SEA: The market continues to move upward confidently. The situation in the region remains difficult. This is due, firstly, to the lack of free tonnage, and secondly, to the weather. Due to severe storms at sea, the fleet's operations were suspended for several days. This has led to an increase in rates in Caspian.

BALTIC SEA: This week, there was a slight decrease in the Baltic Sea market.

FAR EAST: The market is experiencing a significant boost as more shipments from Russian ports to China and South Korea are increasing. Grain cargo remains dominant, pushing other export cargoes aside. The limited tonnage available in the market is having an impact on current freight levels.

Oct 19 - Brazil grain exporters re-route some cargos as drought drains Amazonian rivers
Severe drought in the Amazon is forcing Brazilian grain exporters to divert a small number of export cargos to southern port terminals instead of northern ports, grain exporters group Anec said on Wednesday. Northern routes, which have been disrupted by difficulties navigating shallow Amazonian rivers this spring, have been instrumental to helping the country boost corn and soybeans exports over the past few years.

Oct 19 - Ukraine grain exports down so far 2023/24 -ministry
Ukraine's grain exports are down to 7.8 million metric tons so far in the 2023/24 July-June season, agriculture ministry data showed on Wednesday. The ministry said traders by Oct. 21 last year had exported 11.5 million tons.

Oct 18 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 3% to $1,548/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) dipped 1% to $2,219/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 3% to $946/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 1% to $1,480/FEU.

Ex-Asia ocean rates were stable overall last week, in the just-post-Golden Week period when rates are often under some upward pressure from the holiday backlog.

Rate levels that have fallen since the end of August reflect easing volumes as well as significant overcapacity in the market. Prices from Asia to the US East Coast and N. Europe are well below 2019 levels, while rates to the West Coast are still 17% higher than in 2019, possibly reflecting some shift of volumes back to the West Coast as the threat of labor disruptions has ended.  

If rates have reached their floor, it is likely thanks to significant capacity management measures taken by carriers. The transpacific lane will have about 23% of deployed capacity blanked in October – the highest level since April. And though overcapacity is leading to lower rates, it is also leading to poorer reliability for shippers as last minute blanked sailings can cause delays in the form of rolled containers and late arrivals.

One way to mitigate this type of disruption is to schedule cancellations ahead of time, which is what the 2M alliance did this week through their reduced winter schedule for Asia - N. Europe announced through December. The scaled down service reflects both the lull in demand and excess capacity on this lane, where more new ultra large vessels are likely to be idled immediately upon delivery for the same reasons.

In Israel, ocean and inland logistics have continued to be fully operational despite the ongoing war. Freightos Data shows import container rates to Israel are in line with rates for the region overall. Yesterday, however, one vessel was diverted from the port of Ashdod to Haifa as carriers are reporting some congestion due to labor shortages and tighter security and Israeli carrier ZIM warned of the possibility of short-notice service interruptions and announced an $80 - $120 war risk premium on containers to and from Israeli ports.

Oct 18 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices increased 4% to $4.82/kg
- China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 1% to $3.71/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices increased 3% to $1.69/kg.

Most passenger carriers and some cargo airlines have canceled flights to and from Israel, and Freightos Data shows Israeli air cargo export rates to destinations in Europe and the US have increased by 20% or more since last week.

Freightos Air Index rates from China to the US and Europe remain at their highest levels since the spring on reports of increased volumes in the last few weeks. Some observers think these rate increases are amplified by a more general shift to the spot market in air cargo, and many remain pessimistic about a prolonged air cargo rebound despite these recent trends. 

Oct 18 - Romanian Black Sea port shipped 10.5 mln T of Ukrainian grain Jan-Sept
Ukraine exported 10.5 million metric tons of grain through the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta in the first nine months of the year, the port authority told Reuters on Tuesday. Ukraine is one of the world's biggest grain exporters and Constanta is the main route out for Kyiv's crops since Russia quit a deal allowing safe passage from Ukraine's own Black Sea ports.

Oct 18 - EU 2023/24 soft wheat exports reach 8.81 mln T, down 22%
Soft wheat exports from the European Union since the start of the 2023/24 season in July had reached 8.81 million metric tons by Oct. 15, down 22% compared with 11.34 million a year earlier, data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. EU barley exports totalled 2.31 million tons, down 10% against 2.56 million tons in the corresponding period in 2022/23.

Oct 17 - Russian wheat export prices continued to decline last week, demand low
Russian wheat export prices continued to decline last week, amid reduced demand, analysts said. The price of 12.5%-protein Russian wheat scheduled for free-on-board (FOB) delivery in November was $225 per metric ton last week, down $5 from the week before, the IKAR agriculture consultancy reported. "Demand can only be found at this level," said IKAR head Dmitry Rylko

Oct 17 - Indonesia's Bulog to import 500,000 T corn in 2023, half from Latin America
Indonesia's state food procurement agency Bulog has been assigned to import 500,000 metric tons of corn for animal feed in the remainder of this year, of which half would come from Latin American countries, a company official said on Tuesday. Awaludin Iqbal, Bulog's secretary told Reuters those countries would include Brazil and Argentina, with details of the procurement to be handled by the feed businesses.

Oct 16 - China makes another rare purchase of US wheat
China bought more U.S. soft red winter wheat, the U.S government said on Friday, as Chinese buyers increasingly turn to the global market for supplies after rain damaged the nation's harvest. Recent sales to China are a boost for the U.S. wheat industry, which has struggled with weak exports. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said exporters sold 181,000 metric tons of soft red winter wheat to China, following another sale of 220,000 metric tons to China last week. 

Oct 16 - Brazil shipping agents warn clients drought disrupting corn shipping on barges
A severe drought is disrupting barge traffic on the Tapajos river in the Amazon rainforest, shipping agencies told clients this week as Brazil enters the final months of 2023's corn export season. "Due to the dry season in the Amazon River, the current situation of barges' navigation at the Tapajos River is getting restricted," shipping agent Alphamar said in a note to clients, seen by Reuters.

Oct 13 - Egypt's GASC buys 470,000 tons of wheat in tender
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, said on Thursday it bought 470,000 metric tons of wheat in an international tender. The purchase comprised 300,000 tons of Russian wheat, 120,000 tons of Romanian wheat and 50,000 tons of Bulgarian wheat, it said. 

Oct 13 - South Korea’s KFA buys estimated 65,000 T corn
The Korea Feed Association purchased an estimated 65,000 metric tons of animal feed corn to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender on Thursday, European traders said. It was said to have been bought in one consignment at $250.30 a ton c&f. The corn was sought for arrival in South Korea around Jan. 5, 2024.

Oct 12 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 11 OCTOBER 2023

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov Sea freigh market has weakened over the past week. More open vessel positions observed on the market is spot / prompt. Owners are trying to fix even later October positions anticipating further weakening of the market.

CASPIAN SEA: Until the end of October, the Caspian freight market will likely remain under significant strain as a result of the persistent imbalance between robust tonnage demand and limited ship availability in the area.

BALTIC SEA: The Baltic Sea market improved this week a bit.

FAR EAST: There is a noticeable revival of Chinese Owners after the long weekend in China. This growth is further supported by the start of the season in the Far East, resulting in an uptick in export deliveries.

Oct 12 - Red flags up on corn, soybean logistics woes in Brazil’s northern rivers (AgriCensus)

The drought in northern Brazil is causing logistical concerns due to low water levels in key waterways in the Amazon basin, with grain and oilseed volumes already being diverted to south and southeastern ports, sources told Agricensus. Trading houses are reportedly shifting volumes from the Northern Arc, which encompasses the land and water logistics network that links inland farms to ports in the north and northeast of the country, to the port of Santos in the southeast.

Volumes pivoted to the south are primarily corn, sources said.
“Traders are shifting logistics from Miritituba [where an important Northern Arc river port is located] to Rondonopolis, which has a railway that goes directly to Santos,” Victor Martins, the Latin America risk manager at Amius Ltd, told Agricensus.

- According to sources, this is already having an impact on waiting times at the port of Santos. The wait has increased to 13-16 days currently from 8-9 days in the previous week. According to Martins, these delays may jeopardize the pace of soybean exports through Santos, potentially benefitting US exporters during the October-February window.

- Although the disruptions at Northern Arc river logistics arenot yet severe, there are concerns that a lasting drought could bring significant headwinds to Brazilian exporters.
“The [dry] seasonality of rivers in the Amazon region between September and December is historical and well known,” Hidrovias do Brasil, which owns port terminals that handle the transport of soybeans and corn through Amazon waterways, said in a note.

- But the drought this year has been more intense, the logistics operations company also said, jeopardizing river water levels. Still, navigation operations in the waterways mostly used for transporting agricultural products have not yet been severely affected. The situation is more serious in the Amazon River, which is not a traditional route for agricultural products. At the end of September, the Brazilian Association of Cabotage Shipowners (Abac) said transport capacity through the Amazon River could fall by 50% by the end of October and, this week, port operations in Manaus were restricted due to low water levels.

- Rains should return to the north by November easing logistical headwinds in the region, according to historical patterns. This year, however, the likelihood of an El Niño weather pattern, which traditionally leads to drier conditions in northern and northeastern Brazil, could further hamper the transport of grain and oilseed through Amazonian rivers.

Oct 12 - Low water levels again hamper Rhine river shipping in Germany
Low water levels after dry weather have stopped cargo vessels from sailing fully loaded on the Rhine river in Germany, with surcharges added to the usual freight rates, shipping experts said on Wednesday. Low water is hampering shipping on most of the river south of Duisburg and Cologne, including the chokepoint of Kaub. German inland navigation agency WSA said Kaub is at its lowest water level this year, at 85cm.

Oct 12 - South Korea’s MFG buys about 136,000 T corn in tender

South Korea's Major Feedmill Group (MFG) purchased an estimated 136,000 metric tons of animal feed corn in an international tender on Wednesday, European traders said. The tender sought corn in two consignments for arrival in South Korea in February 2024.

Oct 11 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) fell 11% to $1,499/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) fell 8% to $2,245/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) decreased 10% to $917/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 6% to $1,490/FEU.

The latest National Retail Federation US ocean import report estimates that August was indeed the peak for container volumes this year, with imports falling 1% in September. Volumes are projected to be level in October and then decline slightly through the end of the year as consumer spending remains resilient though its growth rate slows. Existing inventories by some importers and decisions to order early by others may have contributed to the brief and early peak in August.

Nonetheless, August volumes were on par with 2019, September and October ocean imports are projected to be 3-4% higher than pre-pandemic, and November/December at least 9% higher.

And though volumes have remained respectable by pre-COVID standards and are behaving in about normal seasonal patterns, ocean rates continue to fall with prices below 2019 levels on most lanes.

Transpacific rates to the West Coast fell 11% last week to about $1,500/FEU, and is the only major lane with rates still above 2019 levels. Asia - N. America East Coast prices decreased 8% to $2,245/FEU, 17% lower than in 2019, with Asia - N. Europe falling 10% to an extreme low of $917/FEU, 25% lower than pre-pandemic. Transatlantic rates are also approaching the $1,000/FEU mark this week.

For the transpacific, rates falling sharply on gradually declining volumes and alongside continued, significant capacity management measures by carriers point to overcapacity as the main driver of the current rate slumps, with excess capacity a major contributor to falling rates on the other lanes as well.   And though carriers have already announced rate increases for November for Asia - Europe services, prices will only climb if liners are able to reduce capacity to current demand levels – a task all the more challenging as new capacity continues to enter the market.

Meanwhile, the European Union antitrust commission has announced that they will allow carrier exemptions to expire in April, a move some expect to have little impact on carrier controls on rates, but that could represent another challenge for liners.

The outbreak of war in Israel has so far had little impact on ocean operations there or in the region, though many passenger and freighter flights to Israel have been canceled.

Oct 11 - Air rates - Freightos Air index


- China - N. America weekly prices decreased 2% to $4.65/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 5% to $3.76/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices fell 2% to $1.64/kg.

Despite recent reports of some air cargo volume increases stoking some hope for air peak season, Freightos Air Index ex-Asia rates fell 2% to N. America last week and more than 4% to N. Europe.

Oct 11 - Egypt's GASC believed to buy 480,000 tons of Russian wheat in private deal -traders
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), is believed to have bought 480,000 metric tons of Russian wheat in a private deal with Russia's state grains trader United Grain Company, several traders told Reuters. The wheat is expected to be shipped in November and December, with traders estimating the price at about $265 a ton free-on-board with payment in 270-day letters of credit. 

Oct 11 - EU offers Australia tariff-free sugar quota equal to just half a ship
European Union negotiators in free trade talks with Australia are, despite a sugar shortage in Europe, offering such low import quotas for the sweetener they are not commercially viable to ship, industry sources said. EU sugar prices have doubled in two years, contributing to rampant food price inflation, thanks in part to stringent environmental rules shrinking local production. That has left buyers reliant on imports that are mostly subject to duties.

Oct 10 - Amazon drought chokes river traffic, threatens northern corn exports
A severe drought choking major rivers in the Amazon rainforest has disrupted ship traffic near the region's biggest city and pushed up costs for northern shipping routes, raising risks for corn exports in coming months. The unusual heat and dryness, linked to the mass deaths of fish and river dolphins, has already limited local communities'access to food and drinking water, leading the federal government to set up a humanitarian task force.  

Oct 10 - Indonesia to import additional 1.5 mln tons of rice this year -minister
Indonesia will import an additional 1.5 million metric tons of rice in 2023, its acting agriculture minister said on Monday, as drought affects harvests at home. The additional quota comes on top of a 2 million ton rice import quota for 2023 and an additional 300,000 ton carryover from last year's import plan.

Oct 09 - Ukraine says grain exports down 27.8% so far in 2023/24
Ukraine's grain exports are down 27.8% to 6.92 million metric tons so far in the 2023/24 July-June season, compared with 9.63 million tons in the same period of 2022/23, agriculture ministry data showed on Friday. The ministry said 249,000 tons of grain were exported in the first five days of October. Ukraine exported 932,000 tons from Oct. 1-6 a year ago. 

Oct 09 - Australian cotton exports to China surge to nine-year high
Australia's exports of cotton to China ballooned to 61,319 metric tons worth $130 million in August, the most since July 2014, Australian customs data showed, as traders took advantage of normalising trade relations between the two countries. China imposed restrictions on imports of commodities including barley, coal and cotton from Australia in 2020 after Canberra called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, but has removed most of the barriers this year. 

Oct 06 - China to receive most of record ICE sugar October deliveryMost of the record physical delivery of sugar by commodities traders at the expiration of the October futures contract at the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) last week will head to China, according to two traders with knowledge of the deals. Wilmar International - the Singapore-based food trader that built a large long position and decided to take nearly all of the record delivery of 2.87 million metric tonnes - has closed deals to sell between 1 million and 1.5 million tonnes to China, they said.

Oct 06 - South Korea's FLC buys some 130,000 T corn in private deals
South Korea's Feed Leaders Committee (FLC) purchased around 130,000 metric tons of animal feed corn in private deals in the past two weeks without issuing international tenders, European traders said on Thursday. The purchases involved two consignments, both of around 65,000 tonnes for January 2024 arrival in South Korea.

Oct 05 - Ukraine expects 12 more cargo ships at its Black Sea ports
Ukraine's navy said on Wednesday that 12 more cargo vessels were ready to enter a fledgling Black Sea shipping corridor on their way to Ukrainian ports, as Kyiv steps up a push to defy a de facto Russian blockade on its vital sea exports. Russia, which has a much more powerful and bigger naval fleet in the Black Sea, pulled out of a deal in July that had allowed wartime Ukraine to safely ship food products out through what is traditionally its main export corridor.

Oct 05 - Buyer in Thailand purchased about 60,000 T feed wheat- traders
An importer group in Thailand is believed to have purchased about 60,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat thought likely to be sourced from the Black Sea region, European traders said on Wednesday. One consignment for shipment in January 2024 was bought at an estimated price of around $265.80 a ton c&f liner out.

Oct 05 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 04 OCTOBER 2023

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The freight market in the Azov Sea is currently experiencing instability. The recent implementation of the grain export tax has created a lot of uncertainty. With the demand for grains being low, Owners are trying to negotiate higher freight levels. However, there is still a significant difference in the reported fixtures. Some Owners say they fix at usd mid 60's usd pmt fiost and some in the mid 50's usd pmt fiost bss the same lot of 3'k wheat ex Rostov (bb) to Marmara in spot / prompt. There are a number of vessels available for the immediate work, but they are struggling to find a suitable employment and to obtain suitable freight rates. It is believed that coal Charterers are currently offering better payment terms compared to those in the grain market.

CASPIAN SEA: For this week, the market is facing significant pressure as demand spikes. Available tonnage on the market is extremely limited. Buyers are offering competitive prices for corn, motivating charterers to secure ships for multiple consecutive voyages.

BALTIC SEA: During the last week, the market of the Baltic Sea experienced a significant decrease. Numerous immediate vessel openings were observed. 5'k sfs meal (sf abt 56') can be fixed at 19 euro pmt fiost ex Riga to Baltic Denmark in prompt.

FAR EAST: In the market of the Far East, there has been a significant rise in freight rates, reaching high values in the high 20's usd pmt fiost. This surge can be attributed to the shortage of available tonnage and the reluctance of Chinese shipowners to enter the ports of the Russian Federation.

Oct 05 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) decreased 5% to $1,687/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) decreased 8% to $2,434/FEU.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) ticked up 2% to $1,020/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 9% to $1,587/FEU.

Ocean spot rates fell nearly across the board last week on a mix of a Golden Week lull, a more general easing of volumes, and persistent capacity growth.

Asia - N. Europe rates were below $900/FEU as of yesterday, despite indications of a gradual improvement in volumes on this lane. Some carriers have already announced November rate increases aimed at pushing these rates back up to profitable levels. Asia - Mediterranean prices are below $1,500/FEU so far this week, their lowest level since 2019.

Asia to N. America East Coast prices fell 8% last week and continued their slide so far this week with daily rates at $2,249/FEU, 18% lower than in 2019 and their lowest level since mid-2018.
 
Transpacific rates to the West Coast fell last week as well, and slipped below $1,500/FEU as of yesterday. Nonetheless, this is the only major lane with prices still above 2019 levels and that have retained some of the summer GRI-driven gains, with prices still 13% higher than in mid-July.
Ocean rates across these lanes are sinking despite high levels of blank sailings and record-slow sailing speeds, which are expected to persist into next year.

Oct 05 - Air rates - Freightos Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices increased 8% to $4.75/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices increased 6% to $3.94/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices were level at $1.67/kg.

There were more reports of upticks in ex-Asia air cargo demand the last few weeks, and Freightos Air Index data saw China - N. America rates increase 8% last week to $4.75/kg, and Asia - N. Europe prices climb 6% to $3.94/kg. Despite this recent trend, many in the industry remain pessimistic that a significant air cargo peak season will materialize this year.

Oct 05 - Grain sources cast doubt on Black Sea grain initiative talks, but rumors persist (AgriCensus)

- Black Sea trade sources have cast doubt on rumors that talks are set to resume on the export grain initiative on October 5, with most arguing that there is little point to restoring the four-way agreement that allowed exports from Ukraine's deep water ports of Odesa, Pivdenniy and Chornomorsk. Rumors have been circulating among market participants that Russia could be poised to make a return to the grain deal initiative from October 5, after pulling out of the deal back in July 2023.

- The deal had originally been signed between Ukraine, the United Nations and Turkey, with a mirror deal signed between Russia, the UN and Turkey, but was allowed to lapse when Russia declined to resign. The trade rumours, most of which seem to come from Russia-based sources, expect Turkey will guarantee the safety of vessels operating in the Black Sea and, as such, will allow unhindered export of grains and sunflower from both Ukraine and Russia. More controversially, the rumors also suggest a guarantee for the export of petrol, oil and lubricants from Russia would be included, in return for exports of the same products from the EU into three Ukrainian deep sea ports.

- Also, key Russian demands for readmission to the international electronic banking system, SWIFT, and a guarantee of Russian fertlizer exports via Ukrainian ports has been dropped by Russian authorities amid acceptance that there is no possibility of implementing such an arrangement. Along with that, it was also said that Turkey will process payments for Russian sunseeds and grains through its two state banks, with a 12% commission.

Doubts
- However, trade sources spoken to by Agricensus also suggested that such reports were untrue and claimed there is no reason or incentive for Ukraine to return to the grain deal and give control over the flow of exports back to Turkey, the UN and especially Russia.

Ukraine's use of marine and aerial drones against Russian ports and shipping in the mainland and in the disputed territory of Crimea has proved a consistent irritant to Russian naval forces and spurred more confidence.

On the back of that, Ukraine declared the opening of its own humanitarian corridor - allowing a wider selection exports than simply grains - in August, initially enabling ships that had been stuck in port since the Russian invasion began to leave.

Since the opening of the humanitarian corridor, eleven vessels have already arrived in Ukraine, and eight of those have left successfully, but there are more expected to enter the region soon, but trade sources expressed fears that recommitting to the grains initiative could slow building momentum.
“The UN only will put the process into frames, which nobody really needs,” a source said.

Another Ukrainian source familiar with the matter said that for now there were only talks about the current humanitarian corridor, while the UN said that for now they could only confirm that negotiations are “ongoing”.
“The UN remains determined to ensure that Ukrainian grains can be exported and reach the global market, for the sake of Ukrainian farmers and the world’s poorest people who need affordable food. These efforts continue in that regard, including through talks with the Russian Federation,” UN representatives said in response to an official request from AgriCensus.

Trade sources also agreed that it was possible that there remain negotiations underway, but still did not expect a final result to be agreed upon and certainly not within the next 24 hours. Along with that, Russian media RIA News reported that more clarity regarding the status and continuation of the grain deal initiative may appear closer to the end of 2023, but for now there is no significant progress.

The grain deal initiative was stopped on July 17, 2023, after Russia withdrew from the deal - although significant delays at inspection stages meant that shipments were already significantly delayed - with some ships facing months waiting at Istanbul.

That had brought accusations from Ukrainian authorities that Russian inspection teams under the Joint Coordination Centre were effectively sabotaging the arrangement by holding up their approvals for as long as possible.  

But on  August 10, Ukrainian naval forces opened a humanitarian corridor for commercial vessels, with few vessels that had been stuck since the Russian invasion leaving Ukrainian ports in August, before the arrivals of eight vessels to load iron ore and grains in September.

Oct 04 - Ukraine seeks to speed up food exports via Poland with border deal
Ukraine said on Tuesday it hopes to speed up exports of grain and other farm products under a wartime deal that will shift some border checks from its busy frontier with Poland to the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda. Under the agreement, which Kyiv said had been reached with Lithuania and Poland, Ukrainian agricultural cargo destined for shipping to the world from Klaipeda will no longer undergo veterinary and sanitary checks as they enter Poland in transit. 

Oct 04 - China's large purchase of US wheat is rare, but not unprecedented -Braun
Signs of life for the sluggish U.S. wheat market arrived on Tuesday with confirmation that China had purchased an unusually large volume of U.S. wheat for the first time in over two years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a deal for 220,000 metric tons of U.S. soft red winter wheat for shipment to China in 2023-24, the U.S. marketing year that began June 1.

Oct 03 - Freight rates for grain exports via new Black Sea route fall sharply, Ukraine says
A new corridor allowing cargo vessels to carry Ukrainian grain and iron ore from Black Sea ports has significantly lowered freight rates and they are likely to fall further, Ukraine's farm minister said on Monday. Kyiv launched what it calls a temporary humanitarian corridor in August to allow agricultural exports as an alternative arrangement after Russia blocked the U.N.-backed Black Sea grain deal that had been in place for a year. 

Oct 03 - Argentina extends soy export incentives to shore up foreign reserves
Argentina's government said on Monday it will extend a program to boost grain exports to shore up the country's meager foreign reserves, as it looks to meet International Monetary Fund targets amid an economic crisis.The Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Monday that the PIE boosted last month's soy sales in Argentina by 5.1 million metric tons.

Oct 02 - Five more cargo ships head for Ukraine's Black Sea ports -deputy PM
Five more ships are on their way to Ukrainian sea ports using a new corridor opened to resume predominantly agricultural exports, an alternative arrangement to the Black Sea grain deal blocked by Russia, a top Ukrainian official said on Sunday. "Bulk carriers OLGA, IDA, DANNY BOY, FORZA DORIA, NEW LEGACY are going to export almost 120,000 (metric) tons of Ukrainian grain to Africa and Europe," he added.

Oct 02 - Mississippi River near historic lows, grain exports at risk
A key stretch of the lower Mississippi River dropped this week to within inches of its lowest-ever level and is expected to remain near historic lows just as the busiest U.S. grain export season gets underway, according to the National Weather Service. Low water has slowed hauling of export-bound corn and soybean barges over recent weeks as shippers lightened loads to prevent vessels from running aground and reduced the number of barges they haul at one time to navigate a narrower shipping channel.

Sep 29 - China boosts Ukraine with large corn purchases
Chinese importers are believed to have made large purchases of animal feed corn from Ukraine in the past two weeks, traders in Asia and Europe said on Thursday, providing a boost for the war-ravaged country from an unlikely source. The traders were unable to say the exact volumes but several said they amounted to several hundred thousand metric tons.  

Sep 29 - Iran's SLAL said to have bought corn and soymeal in tenders
Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL is believed to have purchased animal feed corn and soymeal in international tenders which closed on Tuesday, European traders said on Thursday. Volumes were unclear but traders spoke of a substantial purchase of several corn shipments and around 120,000 metric tons of soymeal in two shipments.

Sep 28 - Ukrainian corn competes into China, amid talk of 15 vessels fixed (AgriCensus)

- The potential reopening of Ukraine's deep water ports has galvanized export indications for the country to the point where price levels look competitive enough to supply corn into the key global importer of China, in a move that will give further creedence to reports of ships already being fixed.  Rumors appeared late last week that around 12 and potentially as many as 15 vessels have been fixed to be loaded from Ukrainian Black Sea ports into China, and the first physical offers appearing in the market for delivery into the country look competitive, according to trade sources.

- The move comes after the collapse of the Black Sea grain initiative earlier this year, when Russia pulled out of a four-way agreement with Turkey, the United Nations and Ukraine. Since then, Ukrainian authorities have been testing the resolve of the Russian military, who issued a warning to all civilian shipping in the Black Sea heading to Ukrainian waters after the grain deal's collapse, but a series of arrivals and departures from the key deep water ports has raised hopes that a resumption of exports is possible.

- Even though there were wide spread reports around the number of bulk vessels booked from Ukraine for October-November shipment, it proved impossible to confirm, although trade sources warned that - even if true - not all cargoes would be grain shipments. Currently any cargoes can be shipped from Ukraine, and currently a vessel with a summer deadweight of around 75,000 mt is currently loading iron ore most likely bound for China. Nonetheless, the offers that have started to circulate in the market for Ukraine-originated corn for delivery into China look competitive compared to other origins - and that means it is possible that some volume has been traded.

- Current offers were seen at $275-280/mt CFR China on Wednesday, with buying ideas heard at $260/mt CFR and possibly rising to $265/mt CFR, all for October shipment.

- However, it is expected that as more vessels head to Ukraine, freight rates would likely continue to drop, making the origin look more attractive. Since the first vessels entered Ukraine's deep sea ports of Pivdennyi, Odesa and Chornomorsk two weeks ago, freight ideas for Chinese destinations have already dropped by around $10/mt.

- That compares to offers seen from Brazil for December shipment at around $232/mt FOB Santos and freight seen at $43.50/mt, making the CFR level at around $275.50/mt.

- Meanwhile, US-origin corn is currently offered at around $235/mt FOB USG which with the freight idea at around $58/mt which might push the CFR levels to $293/mt. Both North and South American exporters have domestic issues that are likely to leave little space for either to ramp up exports, with the US facing significant issues with the Mississippi, and Brazil facing a shortage of farmer selling that is starving supply to the primary export hubs. China is the world's biggest corn importer, with the USDA’s projection for imports in the 2023/24 marketing year at 23 million mt, and used to buy up to 30% of its corn supply from Ukraine. China was also the main destination of Ukrainian corn exports in 2022/23, as the grain corridor deal enabled the supply of 5.55 million mt of corn, but since the end of thedeal, China has been forced to switch to other suppliers.

That has led to reports of large volumes of Brazilian corn rumored to have traded. Brazil supplied 902,111 mt of corn into China in July 2023 and 2.3 million mt in August, making it the main destination for its corn exports so far

Sep 28 - Egypt buys 170,000 tons of European wheat despite drop in Russian prices
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said on Wednesday it had bought 170,000 metric tons of wheat in an international tender. The purchase comprised 60,000 tons of Romanian wheat for Nov. 10-20 shipment and 110,000 tons of Romanian and Bulgarian wheat for Nov. 21-30 shipment, it said. 

Sep 28 - Indian miner NMDC's China exports hindered by logistics
India's NMDC is unable to export low-grade iron ore to China, the country's biggest iron ore customer, due to logistics issues, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. "There is a severe shortage of rakes to move the ore anywhere in the country which is affecting exports," the source said, declining to be identified as details of the challenges are not public.

Sep 28 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 27 SEPTEMBER 2023

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov Sea market dropping slowed down this week. Market was supported by Charterers, who were ready to pay well for the vessels, which were able to load before the 1st of October. Government implemented a new additional tax on grains starting the 1st of October, which gives its impact on the market. Charterers have to squeeze Owners on freight to somehow compensate for the losses.

CASPIAN SEA: The market has strengthened significantly this week and rates have risen. Russian Owners from Astrakhan are currently indicating prices of usd 60-62 pmt fiost for October. However, there is a shortage of available fleet in the market, due to many Iranian Owners prioritizing their involvement in government programs. The rates are expected to continue growing in the upcoming weeks, as the terminals receive a new supply of corn crops.

BALTIC SEA: The Baltic Sea market is rising this week. Owners show mid 30's euro pmt fiost ex Riga to Ghent for 5'k wheat shipment in prompt.

FAR EAST: The freight market maintains its position from last week. No significant changes in rates are expected

Sep 27 - Tunisia buys soft wheat and barley in tender - traders
Tunisia's state grains agency is believed to have purchased about 100,000 metric tons of soft wheat and 50,000 metric tons of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender on Tuesday, European traders said. The wheat was said to have been sold in four 25,000 ton consignments.  

Sep 27 - Ship insurance facility set up for Ukraine grain exports, says broker Miller
A new marine insurance facility for Ukrainian grain exports using the country's sea corridor has been set up in conjunction with Ukraine's authorities, insurance broker Miller said on Tuesday. London-headquartered Miller said it had teamed up with British maritime technology company Clearwater Dynamics (CWD) to develop a war risks insurance facility for grains shipments via three ports including Chornomorsk as well as Odesa and Pivdennyi.

Sep 26 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) decreased 5% to $1,778/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) fell 8% to $2,650/FEU.
- Asia-North Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) decreased 34% to $996/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 4% to $1,751/FEU.

Last week, transpacific ocean rates continued their slide that started early this month. As this week’s rates have continued to decline, prices are now 17 - 20% lower than at the end of August. Sliding rates and reports of increased blanked sailings announced through October, likely signal that this year’s peak volumes are behind us.

Rates, and likely volumes too, are falling despite US consumer spending on goods remaining steady in August. A recent analysis suggests that some spending growth is on the types of goods, like video games, that don’t ship by ocean container – another factor in the relative disconnect between spending and freight.
But even with the rate declines of the last few weeks, prices to the West Coast remain well above 2019 levels, and East Coast rates are about even with 2019. Taken together with reports that utilization levels are over 90% to the West Coast, though closer to 80% to the East Coast, spot rates still above contract levels and likely above break-even mean carriers – for now – are managing transpac capacity successfully.

Carriers will seek to keep vessels full and prices from falling too much in the coming weeks through further blanked sailings and service suspensions – tasks that will only get more challenging as volumes ease and record levels of new capacity, about one vessel per day for the rest of the year, will continue to enter the global market.

Carriers are not having the same success on Asia - Europe lanes where rates crashed 34% last week to less than $1,000/FEU, an FBX record low for this lane. Despite significant blanked sailings and slow steaming, utilization levels are poor, pushing rates below contract levels, break even levels, and the $1,300/FEU mark that carriers were able to sustain from April through July. Carriers will blank even more capacity – about 20% announced so far – in October to try and push rates back up even as volumes likely decline on this lane too.

Despite transatlantic rates that are more than 40% lower than in 2019, and volumes likewise below 2019 levels (though they improved in July and August), this lane’s high share of capacity deployed via vessel-sharing agreements or by alliances is complicating carrier efforts to remove excess capacity and push rates up.

Sep 26 - Air rates - Freightos Air index


- China - N. America weekly prices increased 4% to $4.41/kg
- China - N. Europe weekly prices increased 7% to $3.70/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices increased 1% to $1.67/kg.

In air cargo, more forwarders are reporting signs of life for ex-Asia volumes, which is a good omen for hopes of an air peak this year.  Freightos Air Index data show Asia - N. Europe rates of $3.70/kg have increased 27% since the end of August, and transpacific prices of $4.41/kg have climbed 10%.

Sep 26 - India to cut floor price for basmati rice exports
India will cut the floor price for basmati rice exports in the coming days, sources familiar with the matter said, after millers and traders complained about a sharp drop in overseas sales of the premium aromatic grain. India will lower the basmati floor price to $850 a metric ton, down from $1,200 a ton, to help millers and traders ship out the rice grade, said the sources, who didn't wish to be identified as they are not authorised to talk to media.  

Sep 26 - Ukraine's September grain exports down 51%, ministry says
Ukrainian grain exports over Sept. 1-24 totalled 1.57 million metric tons, down sharply from the 3.21 million tons in the corresponding period last year, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. Traders and agricultural unions have said that Ukrainian the blocking of Black Sea ports and recent Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports on the Danube River are the main reasons for the reduced exports.

Sep 25 - Taiwan buys estimated 93,125 T wheat of U.S.-origin in tender
The Taiwan Flour Millers' Association purchased an estimated 93,125 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in a tender on Friday, European traders said. The purchase involved various wheat types bought in two consignments for shipment from the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast. 

Sep 25 - South Korea’s KFA buys estimated 65,000 metric tons corn
The Korea Feed Association (KFA) purchased an estimated 65,000 metric tons of animal feed corn in an international tender on Friday, European traders said. It was expected to be sourced either from South America or South Africa and was bought by the KFA's Busan section.

Sep 22 - Three more commercial vessels bound for Ukraine's Black Sea ports (AgriCensus)

- Another three commercial vessels are approaching Ukraine's Black Sea ports to be loaded with agricultural products and iron ore, according to the Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure of Ukraine, Oleksandr Kubrakov. Oleksandr Kubrakov published a note on Friday saying that three bulk vessels are heading towards Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi ports using the so-called temporary corridor for civilian vessels created at the initiative of the Ukrainian authorities.

After loading more than 127,000 mt of agricultural products and iron ore, the vessels will be heading to China, Egypt and Spain, the note said. The first two vessels to use the temporary corridor established by the Ukrainian Armed Forces Navy, Resilient Africa and Aroyat, were successfully loaded in Chornomorsk port and dispatched earlier this week. Those vessels are carrying more than 20,000 mt of grains. The Resilient Africa has already safely passed the Bosporus Strait.

- However, for now, the increase in vessel movements has not led to a revival in trade on a CPT basis in Ukraine or on the acceptance of new product shipments in Pivdennyi, Odesa or Chornomorsk (POC) ports.
 
All the vessels have been loaded with products already available at the terminals, according to trade sources.

Sep 21 - First grain offers start to appear for loading from Ukraine's Black Sea ports (AgriCensus)

- It has already been a week since the Ukrainian government confirmed the first two vessels had arrived at Ukrainian Black Sea ports to load grains outside of the grain deal, and although the trade overall remained skeptical, the first offers have now started to appear from those ports. Trade sources said some companies had started to originate in Ukraine's Black Sea ports, and in general, the market started to show intentions to load from those ports, with the first albeit nominal ideas appearing in the market at $183-190/mt FOB Pivdennyi, Odesa or Chornomorsk (POC) for corn and $186/mt FOB for 10.5% wheat.

- The levels indicated are significantly higher than those shown on an FOB Danube basis, where feed wheat selling ideas have fallen to $166-169/mt and corn is offered at $177-195/mt. But at the same time, this is also much lower than the closest origins in the region, as feed wheat loaded from Constanta was seen offered at $235/mt FOB along with corn offers at around $226/mt FOB and $240/mt CFR Spain Thursday.

- Still, trade sources said that for now most trade is on a delivered basis, and even though some sellers are ready to offer loading from Ukrainian ports, buyers are afraid to risk such cargoes amid concerns of possible force majeure. Moreover, to complete sales on a delivered basis more adequate freight rate ideas are needed, or FOB levels have to drop further, as currently, market participants said that there is a limited number of vessels ready to go to the Ukrainian Black Sea and thus the costs are extremely high.

- For example, the freight for a handy vessel from Ukraine's POC ports into Spain was said to be at least $60/mt, compared with the same route from Constanta being indicated at around $21-22/mt.

- Last Saturday, the Ukrainian government confirmed two vessels, Resilient Africa and Aroyat, had arrived at the port of Chornomorsk, while the Resilient Africa is meanwhile already safely headed to the Bosporus Strait. There is talk in the market that more vessels have been fixed and are expected to arrive soon, but no more details were available.

Sep 21 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 20 SEPTEMBER 2023

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA
: The Azov Sea freight market has stopped on this week and has started to drop. Some owners are eager to fix their positions in the beg of October at quite attractive levels now and anticipating further freight market weakening. The majority of owners though try to maintain/insist on the levels of usd 70+ pmt fiost ex Rostov to Marmara for usual 3/5’k grain orders (46-49"). A lot of shallow draft coaster vessels are trading now ex the Azov Sea in spite of severe delays at the Kerch. Still situation with the Kerch passage has not changed and the vessels have to wait 5-12 days to enter the Azov water area.

CASPIAN SEA: This week, Astrakhan is experiencing steady growth primarily because of the arrival of a new corn harvest being delivered to the terminals. Shipments from Makhachkala are proceeding as per the usual schedule without any urgency. However, it is worth noting that there might be minor variations in freight rates due to the rise in export cargo from Iran. On the other hand, there has been a significant decline in shipments from Aktau due to a damaged harvest.

BALTIC SEA:There have been no significant changes or activity observed in the Baltic region during this week. The market is currently displaying a state of relative weakness.

FAR EAST: The situation in the region remains stable with an average rate of shipments from Russian ports. However, there has been a decline in business activity among Chinese market participants. Currently, some Shipowners are choosing not to engage in the transportation of grain cargoes.

Sep 21 - Algeria bought total of around 600,000 T wheat in tender - traders
Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC has purchased a total of around 600,000 metric tons of milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Tuesday, European traders said on Wednesday. Purchases on Wednesday were reported at between $274 and $275 a ton cost and freight (c&f) included, with the main weight on Wednesday’s purchases seen at $275 a ton, traders said.

Sep 21 - South Korean mills buy 50,000 T wheat from Australia
A group of South Korean flour mills bought an estimated 50,000 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from Australia in an international tender on Wednesday, European traders said. The purchase involved several wheat grades for shipment between Dec. 16 and Dec. 31.

Sep 20 - South Korea’s MFG bought some 68,000 T corn in private deal - traders
South Korea's Major Feedmill Group (MFG) purchased an estimated 68,000 metric tons of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from South America or South Africa in a private deal on Tuesday without issuing an international tender, European traders said. It was bought at a premium estimated at 185 U.S. cents a bushel c&f over the Chicago March 2024 corn contract.

Sep 20 - Algeria bought about 30,000 metric tons feed barley last week
- traders
Algerian state agency OAIC is believed to have purchased about 30,000 metric tons of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in a tender which closed on Thursday, European traders said on Tuesday. No purchase was reported of 80,000 tons of corn from Argentina also sought in the tender, traders said.

Sep 19 - Farm trade dispute creates rift between Ukraine and its allies
A dispute over agricultural trade created a rift on Monday between Ukraine and some of its strongest allies in the European Union after three member states imposed unilateral measures to restrict imports from the war-torn country. Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced restrictions on imports on Friday after the European Commission decided not to extend a ban on sales into Ukraine's five EU neighbours, which also include Romania and Bulgaria.

Sep 19 - Cargo vessel leaves Ukraine's Chornomorsk after loading grain - industry source
One cargo vessel carrying grain has left the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Chornomorsk for the first time since a grain deal collapsed, an industry source told Reuters on Tuesday, in a test of Ukraine's ability to unblock its seaports for grain export. Ukraine last month announced a "humanitarian corridor" in the Black Sea to release ships trapped in its ports since the start of war in February 2022 and to circumvent a de facto blockade after Russia abandoned a deal to let Kyiv export grain.

Sep 18 - First two vessels enter Chornomorsk since grain corridor collapse (AgriCensus)

- The first two commercial vessels have entered a Ukrainian Black Sea port since the collapse of the Black Sea grain corridor in July after the Ukrainian government confirmed the vessels were preparing to enter the port of Chornomorsk in an official statement published over the weekend. Ukraine's Ministry of Infrastructure and Ministry of Agriculture published a note on Saturday saying that at least two bulk vessels had agreed to enter Chornomorsk using the so-called humanitarian corridor, which confirms earlier reports in the market last week.

- The vessel Aroyat with a summer deadweight of 18,315 mt and Resilient Africa with a summer deadweight of 3,275 mt have since arrived and are anchored in Chornomorsk loading around 20,000 mt of wheat bound for Africa and Asia, according to an update from the infrastructure ministry. No details about insurance arrangements for these shipments were available at the time of writing.

- Active rumors of the fixtures began to circulate a week ago, with some suggesting that in addition to the Aroyat and the Resilient Africa, at least two more vessels are in the process of being booked for loading in Ukrainian Black Sea ports. These are the first vessels to enter Ukraine's Black Sea ports since the grain deal brokered by the UN and Turkey ended on July 17 after Russia withdrew its participation.

- On August 10, Ukrainian naval forces declared their own humanitarian corridor open with the route set to be as close as possible to the Romanian and Bulgarian borders. Five ships that were stuck in Ukraine after Russia invaded in February 2022 have since left via this route, but these are the first to enter.

- Russian forces have continued to attack Ukraine's Danube ports and have been sending drones and missiles to Odesa and nearby territories over the weekend, according to local authorities.

Sep 18 - Two ships headed to Ukraine's Black Sea ports to load grain - official
Two cargo vessels were headed to Ukrainian ports on Saturday, the first to use a temporary corridor to sail into Black Sea ports and load grain for African and Asian markets, a senior Ukrainian government official told Reuters. Last month Ukraine announced a "humanitarian corridor" in the Black Sea to release ships trapped in its ports since the start of the war in February 2022 and circumvent a de facto blockade after Russia abandoned a deal to let Kyiv export grain.

Sep 18 - Poland, Hungary, Slovakia to introduce own bans on Ukraine grains

Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced their own restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports on Friday after the European Commission decided not to extend its ban on imports into Ukraine's five EU neighbours. Ukraine was one of the world's top grain exporters before Russia's 2022 invasion reduced its ability to ship agricultural produce to global markets. Ukrainian farmers have relied on grain exports through neighbouring countries since the conflict began as it has been unable to use the favoured routes through Black Sea ports.

Sep 15 - Cargill says it has agreed to sell stake in Russian grain terminal to Delo
U.S.-based commodities trader Cargill said on Thursday it had agreed to sell its stake in a Russian grain terminal to Russia's Delo Group. "In line with Cargill’s earlier announcement to stop the export of Russian grain in July 2023, we can confirm we have reached an agreement with Delo to sell our 25% stake in our KSK grain terminal in Novorossiysk," the company said in a statement. 

Sep 15 - Japan buys 118,490 metric tons of food wheat via tender
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries bought a total of 118,490 metric tons of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in a regular tender that closed on Thursday. Japan, the world's sixth-biggest wheat importer, keeps a tight grip on imports of its second-most important staple after rice, buying a majority of the grain for milling via tenders typically issued three times a month.

Sep 14 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 13 SEPTEMBER 2023

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov Sea market has gone up again over the past week striking the level of usd 70+ pmt fiost bss usual 3'k wheat order ex Rostov to Marmara in spot / prompt.
Surprisingly, some Owners are quoting prices from the low to mid 80's usd pmt fiost for the same wheat order to Marmara. However, there are still significant delays in passing through the Kerch Strait, with vessels having to wait 7-12 days for inspection. Some Owners are discussing payment for the waiting time with Charterers, while others are simply increasing their freight rates. This factor undoubtedly supports the freight market. Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of shallow draft coasters seen loading in the Azov Sea, compared to the usual levels in the Black Sea. Overall, the market is expected to remain strong in the near future.

CASPIAN SEA: Rates in the Caspian basin are remaining on the same levels. Freight volumes from Makhachkala have slightly decreased, despite a consistent flow of cargo. Certain Owners now opt for round trips, utilizing cement as return cargo. In Astrakhan, the situation remains stable, with export shipments progressing optimally. There is an increased movement of cargo from the river towards Iran's northern ports. The export of corn remains active and uninterrupted.

BALTIC SEA: There was a light decline in the market observed in the Baltic region for this week.

FAR EAST: The market is showing positive dynamics, maintaining strong positions over the past few weeks. Typhoons in the region have not significantly affected the current economy of the Owners.

Sep 14 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) decreased 2% to $1,887/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) dipped 1% to $3,048/FEU.
- Asia-North Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) fell 8% to  $1,608/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 14% to $2,003/FEU.

- The latest National Retail Federation US ocean import report projects that the relative volume strength – about two million TEU – estimated for August will persist through October, reflecting optimism among importers for consumer strength over the holiday season.
These projections have September and October volumes 6-7% higher than in 2019, followed by only a moderate dip in November and December, with volumes about 15% higher than pre-pandemic. This late Q4 strength would be a possible sign of a general restocking cycle, as these goods would arrive too late for the holidays.
 
- Transpacific rates to the West Coast have come down slightly, about 7%, so far this month, and prices to the East Coast have been about level. This relative stability in September – though these rates, even with elevated volumes, are still partially facilitated by significant capacity restrictions by carriers – could point to the consistency in volumes projected by the NRF and the possibility of a moderate but sustained peak through October.
But easing rates – even slight declines – in the weeks just before Golden Week when there’s typically upward pressure on prices, together with many anecdotal reports of decreasing ocean bookings, point the other direction.  
- In our recent market update webinar, Robert Khachatryan, CEO of freight forwarder Freight Right Logistics, said that many of  their customers are reporting “drops in orders and expectations of a drop in consumer spending in Q4,” and that falling rates ahead of Golden Week only add to pessimism that this year’s peak will persist through September or beyond.
- If demand is easing as capacity continues to increase, carriers will face further challenges in keeping rates elevated.

- The overcapacity in the market is forcing some to idle new ultra large vessels even before their maiden voyages from Asia to Europe. Rates on this lane fell 8% last week to $1,608/FEU, though prices remain slightly above 2019 levels. In response, carriers are announcing additional blanked sailings even in the weeks after the Golden Week holiday, suggesting that demand is expected to decrease in the weeks that are typically Asia - N. Europe’s peak season period.

- Though ocean volumes reportedly remain strong for Asia - Mediterranean trade, rates fell 14% last week, and are continuing to fall this week to about $1,800/FEU. This level is the lowest for this lane since 2019 and is just below the September 2019 mark. This decline is likely driven by carriers adding too much capacity in recent months as demand proved resilient, and carriers are now removing capacity to try and match volumes.
Carriers likewise shifted too many vessels to transatlantic trade for much of this year even as volumes declined, and prices have been falling for much of the past year as a result. Rates fell another 7% last week to less than $1,100/FEU – 45% lower than in 2019 – and carriers have announced a significant increase in blanked sailings to try and push rates back up.
- Signs of a muted ocean peak season are leading to pessimism about the strength of air cargo’s peak season in the coming months. In the meantime though, Khachatryan reports seeing “some uptick in demand for transpacific air bookings in the last few weeks,” which, together with the sluggish rebound of tourism in

Sep 14 - Air rates - Freightos Air index
- China - N. America weekly prices increased 4% to $4.78/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices increased 1% to $3.07/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices fell 1% to $1.68/kg.

China not adding as much passenger capacity compared to many other regions, may account for the 37% increase in China - N. America Freightos Air Index rates to $4.78/kg since early August.

Sep 14 - Ukraine increases farm exports by rail and truck as Black Sea ports blocked
Ukraine, which has had to find different ways to export its grain since Russia quit the U.N.-brokered Black Sea grain export deal in mid-July, is stepping up road and rail shipments, brokers said on Wednesday. Spike Brokers said 188,000 metric tons of agricultural goods were exported by lorries in the Sept. 1-11 period, compared 169,000 tons in the corresponding period in August. It had shipped 146,000 tons in the corresponding period in July. 

Sep 14 - Iran bought about 240,000 T Russian wheat in past weeks
Iranian state agency the Government Trading Corporation is believed to have purchased about 240,000 metric tons of milling wheat, expected to be sourced from Russia, in the past few weeks, European traders said on Wednesday. It was believed to have been purchased in several deals in a price range estimated by traders at between 292 euros ($314.00)c&f Iranian ports for 120,000 tons to 323 euros a ton c&f for two consignments each of 60,000 tons.

Sep 13 - Panama Canal to further reduce daily transits if drought continues
The Panama Canal could further reduce the maximum number of authorized daily vessel transits if this year's drought continues, the waterway's administrator said on Tuesday. A backlog of ships is waiting to pass through the trans-oceanic canal, which handles an estimated 5% of world trade. It began restricting vessel draft and daily passage authorizations this year to conserve water.  

Sep 13 - South Korea’s NOFI buys some 55,000 T feed wheat
Leading South Korean animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed Inc. purchased about 55,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender on Tuesday, European traders said. It was bought in one consignment at an estimated $269.48 a metric ton c&f plus a $1.50 a ton surcharge for additional port unloading.

Sep 12 - Argentina insists on key river tolls amid criticism from neighbors
Argentina must collect tolls on a crucial waterway, the country's energy chief said on Monday after meeting with Paraguayan officials, as a multi-nation conflict over fees for ships carrying grains and other exports intensifies. Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay are urging Argentina to stop applying the tolls, arguing they restrict navigation on South America's mighty Paraguay-Parana rivers. 

Sep 12 - South Korea’s NOFI tenders for about 130,000 T feed wheat
Leading South Korean feedmaker Nonghyup Feed Inc. has issued an international tender to purchase up to 130,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat, European traders said. The deadline for submission of price offers in the tender is also Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Sep 11 - Russia labels global transport union ITF 'undesirable' organization
Russia has designated the International Transport Workers’ Federation as an "undesirable" organisation in a step the union said will have significant ramifications for 1.6 million Russian members, the ITF said on Friday. The label "undesirable" has been applied to dozens of foreign groups since Moscow began using the classification in 2015, and effectively bans an organisation outright.  

Sep 11 - UK seeks feedback for possible ultra-long gilt tender
The United Kingdom Debt Management Office said it was considering holding a tender of a gilt with a maturity of more than 40 years on Sept. 27, and was seeking market feedback. The DMO said it had received requests from some bond dealers and investors for such a sale, and wanted to gauge if there was broader appetite.

Sep 08 - Top global ports may be unusable by 2050 without more climate action
Some of the world's largest ports may be unusable by 2050 as rising sea levels hit operations, and efforts to speed up decarbonisation of the maritime sector and bring in new technology are vital, a study showed. Weather-related disruptions are already impacting ports across the globe. These include a drought which is hampering operations in the Panama Canal, a top waterway.

Sep 08 - South Korean mills buy estimated 88,260 T wheat from U.S.
A group of South Korean flour mills bought an estimated 88,260 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in an international tender on Thursday, European traders said. The purchase involved various wheat types for shipment in November and December and was purchased in two consignments, all bought on an FOB basis, they said.

Sep 07 - Drone strikes on Ukraine's Izmail damage port, grain silo -governor
Russian drone strikes have damaged port infrastructure, a grain silo and administrative buildings in the Izmail district of Ukraine's Odesa region, its governor, Oleh Kiper, said. Russia has stepped up attacks on Ukraine's grain export infrastructure amid talks on resumption of a Black Sea grain deal to allow unhindered exports of grain from Ukrainian ports. 

Sep 07 - South Korea’s NOFI buys estimated 135,000 T corn in tender
Leading South Korean animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed Inc. has bought an estimated 135,000 metric tons of animal feed corn in an international tender for up to 138,000 tons, European traders said. It was expected to be sourced from either South America or South Africa.

Sep 06 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 06 SEPTEMBER 2023

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA
: Azov sea market is in uproar for this week. Freight levels rose signinficantly again over the week and continue to rise amid lack of tonnage. Owners lament their tonnage is waiting for inspections at Kerch up to 7-10 days disrupting proper planning of voyages. Charterers are chasing open tonnage offering higher levels to fix. A number of charterers are ready to discuss compensation of Kerch waiting time as 50/60% of demurrage pdpr after 2/3 days free waiting time. Majority of charterers though do not approve this practise. A big gap in freight reported between market players for usual Rostov / Yeisk parcels to Turkey. At the same time market players expect further rise of rates next week. Black sea market ex Russia firmed up as well over the past few weeks. Due to war risks less owners able to call Russian ports.

CASPIAN SEA: Caspian sea market is remaining the same during this week. Traders here also starting to pay better. Owners are keen to wait now till spot seeing that the market is finally started to go up. 3’k grain lots ex Astrakhan to NIP pay usd 52 pmt fiost in prompt.

BALTIC SEA
: Baltic sea coast market continues to rise this week.

FAR EAST: Market very stable for the last week, despite rising prices for bunker.

Sep 06 - Argentina launches currency sweetener to spur soy exports
Argentina's government will open a loophole in strict capital controls to allow grains exporters to freely use a quarter of their foreign currency income to buy soybeans after a major drought hit local production. The South American country is a major soy producer and for years was the world's top exporter of processed soy oil and meal, crushed in huge plants along the Parana River. But it has been forced to import more beans due to the ravaged harvest. 

Sep 06 - South Korea’s MFG bought around 55,000 metric tons feed wheat
South Korea's Major Feedmill Group purchased about 55,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat thought likely to be sourced from the Black Sea region in a private deal this week without issuing an international tender, European traders said. One consignment was purchased at an estimated $275.30 a ton c&f including a surcharge for additional port unloading. It was believed to have been bought from trading house Cofco.

Sep 05 - Iran's SLAL tenders for 180,000 T corn, 120,000 T soymeal
Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL has issued two international tenders to purchase up to 180,000 metric tons of animal feed corn and 120,000 tons of soymeal, European traders said on Monday. The deadline for submission of price offers in the tenders is Tuesday, Sept. 5. 

Sep 05 - Egypt's GASC made no purchase in direct talks about buying wheat - traders
Egypt's state grains buyer GASC is believed to have no purchase in direct talks with trading houses on Monday about buying wheat without issuing an international tender, traders said. GASC had bought around 480,000 metric tons of Russian wheat and one cargo of Bulgarian wheat in private talks last week without issuing international tenders, traders said.

Sep 04 - Egypt buys nearly half a million tons of Russian wheat in private deal
Egypt's state grains buyer bought about a half a million metric tons of Russian wheat in a private deal, four traders told Reuters, succeeding in negotiating lower prices than those offered in the more traditional tenders. One of the world's biggest importers of wheat, Egypt last year started shifting towards direct purchases instead of tenders after the war in Ukraine disrupted its buying. 

Sep 04 - Two more ships pass through Black Sea corridor -Zelenskiy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that two more ships had passed through a "temporary" Black Sea shipping corridor established since Russia withdrew from a U.N.-backed grain export deal in July. "Two ships have successfully passed through our temporary 'grain corridor'," Zelenskiy posted on X, previously known as Twitter.

Sep 02 - Panama Canal Authority begins auctions to transit as delays drag on (AgriCensus)

- The Panama Canal Authority has reportedly begun holding auctions for ships waiting to pass the canal, with one vessel reportedly paying $2.4 million to transit, amid warnings that restrictions at the key waterway may last for another 10 months. Since late July, only 10 vessels have been allowed to move through the neopanamax locks per day. The Authority kept only one to two daily slots for unbooked vessels that they auctioned to the highest bidder, according to a second quarter earnings report from LPG company Avance Gas. This company said one bidder had paid $2.4 million for a one-way northbound transit at one auction, on top of a regular toll fee of $400,000.

- Problems with the canal began several weeks ago as an extended dry season led to falling canal water levels. Water levels on the Lake Gatun reservoir have fallen to 79.5 feet, from a long-term average of 84.9 feet, according to September 1 data from the Authority. Due to the low levels, the Authority said only ships with a maximum draft of 44 ft may pass the neopanamax locks, to avoid them grounding on the bottom of the canal.

- From July 25, the Authority cut the number of ships that could move through the canal to 32 per day, 22 through the Panamax locks and 10 through the Neopanamax locks. That was down from a norm of 36 and led to a growing backlog.

- As of September 1,116 vessels were waiting to transit through the canal, based on the latest data provided by the Panama Canal Authority. Sources told Agricensus that waiting times were at around 20 to 21 days.

- The Panama Canal Authority said these restrictions could last for another 10 months. Agricensus understands the restrictions to date have only had a limited effect on freight rates from the US, but this is likely to change if restrictions continue for so long.
“If Panama Canal delays continue there should be support on rates which will also split to the ECSA region as well”, Yiannis Parganas, the Head of Research for Intermodal, told Agricensus.
“If delays continue and become even bigger it will make no sense to send ships via Panama and some charterers could choose to use alternative routes”.
“It all depends what is more profitable for charterers - to pay the extra costs at transit and due to delays or choose a longer distance trip, in both scenarios rates will go up”, he further said.

- Continued problems at the Panama Canal may also begin to weaken US crop exports to Asia which have already become less competitive against their Brazilian rivals. If freight rates from the US to Asia continue to increase that could have knock-on effects on agricultural export prices and may increase the attraction of South American crops for Chinese buyers.

Sep 01 - Flights cancelled, businesses shut in Hong Kong, Guangdong as Typhoon Saola nears (Reuters)

- The Asian financial hub of Hong Kong and China's neighbouring southern province of Guangdong cancelled hundreds of flights on Friday as fears of powerful Typhoon Saola forced some mainland cities to shut businesses, schools and financial markets.
- Packing winds of more than 200 kph (125 mph), the typhoon could make landfall late on Friday or early on Saturday in Guangdong, and rate among the five strongest to hit the populous province since 1949, Chinese authorities have warned.
- All flights with Hong Kong between 2 p.m. (0600 GMT) on Friday and 10 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Saturday have been cancelled, said Cathay Pacific, the city's flagship carrier.

- More than 300 people were stranded at the airport by the cancellation of about 460 flights, the Airport Authority said.
"It's very sad for me because I am not able to attend my daughter's oath-taking," said a tearful Ledenila Barizo, 54, who had been due to fly to the Philippines, as she paced in front of the airline desk.

- The weather will deteriorate rapidly as the typhoon makes landfall, Hong Kong weather officials said, with chances of storm surges of about 3 metres (10 feet) higher than the normal tide.

- The maximum water levels could reach a record, they added, with a chance the city could raise its hurricane signal to the highest level from the second highest, which is now in effect.

Aug 31 - Turkish buyers renew interest in Ukrainian wheat as freight drops (AgriCensus)


- Turkish importers have renewed their interest in Ukrainian wheat amid lower freight rates from Danube shallow water ports, market sources told Agricensus. The price of Ukrainian feed wheat on a CIF Marmara basis has become more competitive after freight rates dropped from $49/mt to $40-43/mt, while a continued increase in freight rates from Russian Azov ports made Russian origin less attractive.

The rate from Russian Azov ports to Marmara has hit $57-58/mt, up from $51-52/mt last week. However, this revived interest is only true of low-protein wheat, as when it comes to wheat with an 11.5% to 13.5% protein content, Turkish buyers still prefer Russian origin.

- The latest trade in Ukrainian 10.5% wheat on a CIF Marmara basis was heard at $218/mt, while Russian-origin 10.5% wheat was offered at $225-228/mt on the same basis.
"People prefer Russian origin, but the Kerch Strait problem can push buyers to start looking for Ukrainian origin," a Turkish-based trader said.

- Currently, vessels have to wait 5-10 days to pass the Kerch Strait, which is among the reasons for the continued freight price increase in the region.
"Ukrainian 10,5-11,5% wheat is priced better, however for higher protein, Russian wheat is preferable," another trader told Agricensus.

- So far, not everyone sees Ukrainian wheat as more attractive, however, and some would like to see Ukrainian milling wheat offered at a more competitive price compared with Russian origin.
"We finally see Ukrainian milling wheat offers but [they are] not cheaper than Russian," a Turkish-based trader said.

- At the same time, Ukrainian sellers are still limited in how far they can lower their offer price levels, as even though there has been a slight weakening in the freight rates recently, ongoing delays in passing the Sulina Canal and strong flows in that direction have prevented them from falling more significantly.

Aug 31 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 30 AUGUST 2023

- AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov sea market rose again over the week. Owners report seeing levels of mid-high 50's usd pmt fiost ex Rostov to Marmara sea bss 3'k wheat in prompt. Vessels are still heavily delaying when passing Kerch strait even though some positive tendency observed from the end of the last week and during this week. Some vessels waited for inspection for 3-8 days and then passed. Southbound vessels are passing Kerch usually within few days. Discussing to split waiting time at Kerch between owners and charterers did not have success so far. More restrictions implemented on transshipment process at Kavkaz making it more complicated and long for both coaster and mother vessels.

- CASPIAN SEA: The Caspian sea market is stable. Charterers are generally pushing the rates down. There is some kind of balance between cargoes and available vessels. Less cargoes available ex river and more from Astrakhan. Astrakhan pay usd 50 pmt fiost bss usual 3’k grains to NIP. Market players expect the market will be firming up slowly.

- BALTIC SEA: The Baltic Sea region is firming up further this week. More grain traders are quoting potential autumn shipments.

- FAR EAST: Far East grains' market remain stable more or less. In current weather conditions, some of owners prefer to load scrap cargoes ex-Russians ports to South Korea instead of grains cargoes.

Aug 30 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Weekly Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) ticked up 5% to $2,029/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) climbed 3% to $3,075/FEU.
- Asia-North Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 2% to $1,747/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 1% to $2,313/FEU.

Though US retail spending has held up even as inflation cools, sales across major retailers have been uneven. While Amazon, Walmart and TJX reported strong Q2 numbers, others like Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods did not fare as well and are seeing possible signs of a slowdown in consumer strength.
 
And while a recent analysis shows US retail inventory levels are decreasing, they remain elevated, and, together with slowing sales, will likely push off a significant restocking cycle and freight rebound until mid-2024.Taken together, these trends support projections that import volumes likely reached their peak for the year in August.
 
Transpacific ocean rates climbed slightly last week, with West Coast rates up 5% to $2,029/FEU, and East Coast prices up 3% to $3,075/FEU, both above 2019 levels. And though the success of August General Rate Increases were due not only to increased demand but also strict capacity management by carriers, if demand ebbs as fleet sizes continue to grow we may be seeing peak rates for this year as well, even as some carriers have announce transpacific GRIs for mid-September.
 
The Panama Canal Authority announced that low-water restrictions will likely stay in place for at least ten months, though there has not been any significant impact on container shipping via the canal yet. With alternatives and excess capacity in the market, it is looking unlikely that these restrictions will cause much disruption to container trade.
 
China - N. Europe total H1 import volumes were down year on year, though demand has improved since March, with June volumes 5% higher than last year and 6% higher than in 2019. August GRIs pushed Asia - N. Europe spot rates to about the $1,700/FEU mark and above contract levels through last week on this demand improvement and on capacity reductions, though there is skepticism that carriers will be able to sustain these prices.
 
Asia - Mediterranean demand was resilient through June, and August rates of $2,300/FEU have been about 20% higher than in July, suggesting volumes continue to improve.

Aug 30 - Air rates - Freightos Weekly Air index

- China - N. America weekly prices increased 6% to $4.02/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 3% to $2.91/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices fell 4% to $1.67/kg.

Freightos Air Index data show that China - N. America air cargo rates increased for the third consecutive week last week, and at $4.02/kg are 15% higher than at the start of August, while China - N. Europe prices have fallen 7% to $2.91/kg over the same period.

Aug 30 - Low Mississippi water levels raise red flags for US soybean, corn exporters (AgriCensus)

- Low water levels in the Mississippi waterway in the US are again raising red flags for the country’s Gulf export hub, a key source of soybean and corn exports, trade sources have told Agricensus. Water levels are near historical lows for August/September and weather models calling for dry conditions through the coming weeks are adding further concerns and feeding into barge premiums that have risen sharply since the end of last week.
“I suspect that freight is the driving factor [for rising barge premiums], with freight sellers perhaps nervous that water levels could continue to drop with the forecast for the first half of September remaining dry for most of the Midwest,” Grain Service Corporation’s vice president Diana Klemme told Agricensus.

- The situation in the Mississippi barge market has the potential to jeopardize US Gulf’s export competitiveness on an FOB and CFR basis as higher costs are passed downstream.
- Soybean FOB front-month premiums in the Gulf hub increased 17 c/bu between Wednesday and Monday while CFR China premiums for beans originated in the Gulf lifted 30 c/bu during the same period.
- Corn premiums also spiked in the Gulf with the FOB front-month basis up 17 c/bu between Wednesday and Monday.

The spike in barge premiums at the end of last week recalled disruptions linked to low water levels at the end of 2022 that brought significant headwinds to US exporters during the country’s main export window last year. Concerns around low Mississippi water levels coupled with disruptions linked to low water levels in the Panama Canal could also jeopardize export prospects from the US Gulf, with businesses potentially shifting to Brazil and to the US Pacific Northwest (PNW) hub.
“If barge freight gets high enough… it could definitely raise the cost of shipping corn and soybeans from the Gulf,” Advance Trading’s Larry Shonkwiler told Agricensus.

- Shonkwiler added that low water levels in the Panama Canal, where waiting times have increased to an average of 21 days, add to the mix and could hamper the US Gulf’s export competitiveness for both corn and beans.
“While one would think that Brazil more or less has a lock on Chinese and other Asian business this fall for corn and, to a lesser extent, beans, low water for both the Mississippi River and the Panama Canal could really shift export demand to the PNW,” Shonkwiler said.

Aug 30 - South Korea’s MFG bought about 55,000 metric T feed wheat
South Korea's Major Feedmill Group has purchased about 55,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat expected to be sourced from the Black Sea region in a private deal without issuing an international tender, European traders said on Tuesday. One consignment was purchased at an estimated $273.80 a ton c&f plus a $1.50 a tonne surcharge for additional port unloading.  

Aug 30 - Egypt's GASC seeks wheat in international tender
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, is seeking wheat in an international tender for shipment Oct. 5-20 and/or Oct. 25 - Nov. 10 and/or Nov. 15-30. GASC said the deadline for submitting offers was Aug. 30 at GASC's offices in the New Administrative Capital.

Aug 29 - S. Korea’s NOFI group bought 55,000 T feed wheat in private deal
Leading South Korean animal feed group Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) purchased around 55,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat in a private deal on Friday without issuing an international tender, European traders said on Monday. The wheat can be sourced from any origins worldwide, they said. Price was estimated at $273.90 a ton c&f plus a $1.50 a ton surcharge for additional port unloading.

Aug 29 - Australia ships first barley cargo to China since tariffs lifted
Australia has shipped the first barley cargo to China since tariffs imposed in 2020 were lifted earlier this month, the country's minister for agriculture said. China ended anti-dumping tariffs on Australian barley earlier this month, roughly three years after the 80.5% duties first dented exports once worth up to A$1.5 billion annually and led Canberra to file a case at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Aug 28 - Egypt's GASC made no purchase in direct talks about buying wheat -traders
Egypt's state grains buyer is believed to have held direct talks with trading houses on Friday about buying wheat without issuing an international tender but no purchase was reported, traders said. The lowest offer was said to be $263.77 a metric ton FOB for 50,000 tons of Bulgarian-origin wheat believed to have been submitted by trading house Buildcom for shipment between Oct. 5-20. 

Aug 28 - Taiwan buys estimated 104,000 metric tons of U.S.-origin wheat
The Taiwan Flour Millers' Association bought an estimated 104,000 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in a tender on Friday, European traders said. The purchase involved various wheat types for shipment from the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast in two consignments.

Aug 25 - Brazil clears bottlenecks to oust US as top corn exporter
Brazil is set to overtake the U.S. this year as the world's top corn exporter, reflecting both a bumper harvest and logistical breakthroughs such as the consolidation of northern export routes, which are boosting the competitiveness of the South American grains powerhouse. Corn exports through Brazil's northern ports, which use the waterways of the Amazon River basin to ship grains globally, are on track to beat volumes via the most traditional port of Santos for a third consecutive year, according to a Reuters analysis of grain shipping data. 

Aug 25 - Hungary wants EU to extend Ukrainian grains import ban beyond Sept 15
Hungary wants the EU's ban on domestic sales of Ukrainian grain to be extended in the five EU member states bordering Ukraine after the current measure ends on Sept. 15, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff told a briefing on Thursday. "Hungary will ask the EU to extend the ban from September 16," Gergely Gulyas said, adding Hungary was ready to reimpose a national import ban if the EU does not extend the measure.

Aug 24 - Russia hits grain facilities at Ukrainian Danube River port
Russian drones struck Ukrainian grain facilities at the Danube River port of Izmail overnight in what a senior official said on Wednesday was a systematic attempt by Moscow to prevent Kyiv exporting grain to the world. Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the port's export capacity had been reduced by 15% and that 13,000 metric tons of grain had been destroyed. 

Aug 24 - Ukraine says it has exported 3.83 mln T grain so far in 2023/24
Ukraine's grain exports have reached 3.83 million metric tons so far in the 2023/24 July-June season, Agriculture Ministry data showed on Wednesday. The ministry gave no comparative figures for the same period a year earlier, but said shipments stood at 3.3 million tons as of Aug. 25, 2022.

Aug 24 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 23 AUGUST 2023

- AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov Sea market is under pressure now due to very long stays at Kerch strait. Vessels, irrespective of flag, have to wait up to 7-11 days now to pass inspection to get to the Azov Sea. Azov to Black Sea waiting time tends to be less but still gives very considerable delay to voyage. Some Owners start to talk about how to split the waiting time at Kerch but with no success so far. Delays at Kerch create contractual problems for Charterers as well as they cannot plan properly loading of the vessels and bl dates. Ports are also congested due to mentioned reasons earlier. Additionally, freight rates are increasing in the Azov Sea due to a shortage of available tonnage caused by delays from previous voyages.

- CASPIAN SEA:  The market has strengthened well over the past week and continues to move up steadily. The issue in Amirabad, caused by the accumulation of ships, has now been successfully resolved. The distribution of tonnage across the region is being progressively carried out.

- BALTIC SEA: The Baltic Sea region is slowly firming up. There are more grains, some chips and woodpellets on the market.

- FAR EAST: The market remains steady, with a notable rise in export shipments. However, the only problem in the region continues to be the railroads restrictions. Rolling stock delays force Сharterers to fix vessels in the spot in order to avoid vessel downtime and large demurrages.

Aug 24 - A severe drought is threatening shipping on the vital Panama Canal, which is responsible for moving 40% of the world's cargo ship traffic. About two-thirds of the canal's traffic is either headed for — or leaving — the United States. CBS News

The canal, a linchpin connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, is renowned for its ability to save time and billions of dollars by offering ships a shortcut around the tip of South America. But the Panama Canal system depends on lakes whose levels are now "close to the minimum," said Boris Moreno, vice president of operations for the canal.

The region home to the canal has had an unprecedented dry season, leading to a significant decline in water levels within the canal, which relies on fresh water to operate. As a result, the canal's daily operations have been disrupted, with the number of vessels passing through each day reduced from 36 to 32. That has caused delays and traffic congestion at sea.  

Additionally, some ships are being forced to carry up to 40% less cargo to avoid hitting the bottom in low water levels.  

Moving ships through the canal's system of locks consumes vast amounts of fresh water, ranging from 55 to 125 million gallons per ship, depending on its size. Much of that water typically gets flushed into the ocean, and the Panama Canal Authority is now employing methods to store and reuse some of the water to address the crisis.  

The authority is considering diverting water from other rivers and constructing additional reservoirs, as the lakes that feed the canal also serve as the primary source of drinking water for nearby Panama City.

As climate change brings hotter temperatures and prolonged dry spells to the tropics, the canal's long-term viability is now a subject of concern for many.

"We are climate dependent so this issue of climate change to us is real," said Ricaurte Vasquez Morales, the canal's administrator.

Antonio Dominguez, managing director for shipping giant Maersk, the largest single user of the canal, said he worries that prolonged drought could lead to delays and increased costs for shipping, potentially affecting Christmas merchandise and other consumer goods and making things "more expensive."

"Everywhere, you have climate change impacting global commerce and we need to do something about it," Dominguez said.

Aug 23 - Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) ticked up 1% to $1,936/FEU.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) climbed 3% to $2,991/FEU.
- Asia-North Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) fell 5% to $1,708/FEU.
- Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) fell 3% to $2,327/FEU.

Low water levels driving weight restrictions and reductions in daily Panama Canal transits has created a backlog of about 150 ships waiting – some for more than a week – for passage. This number leveled off last week, and though the congestion is causing significant delays for many bulk vessels, container ship traffic – most of which moves via scheduled transits booked well ahead of time and given priority over other types of vessels – has not faced significant disruptions. Reports of shippers diverting containers to the West Coast or via the Suez have been minimal, though ships unable to book ahead must bid for available slots and can pay as much as $1 million for a slot, adding extra costs and some time waiting.

In terms of the impact on freight rates, some carriers introduced surcharges for containers moving through the canal when the first restrictions were announced in June. But even with those and the additional restrictions that started at the end of July, rates to the East Coast have increased less than those to the West Coast.

Spot rates have increased about $600/FEU to both coasts since mid-July, with West Coast rates currently at $1,936/FEU and East Coast prices at $2,991/FEU. But this climb represents a 47% increase for West Coast rates and only a 26% increase for East Coast prices. Likewise, East Coast rates are only 12% higher than August 2019 levels, while West Coast prices are 46% higher than pre-pandemic.

Reports of nearly full transpacific vessels, and carriers limiting contracted shippers to their allocations, indicate that capacity is about matching current demand levels – which have increased steadily since June – and is pushing rates up. Analysis showing that carriers are removing less capacity than in July suggests that the demand increase is playing a significant role in the successful August General Rate Increase, though other measures have August’s blank sailings about even with July.

But the persistence of capacity management measures during what is likely the peak of this year’s peak season, and the fact that new vessels will continue to enter the market, point to the general state of overcapacity in the market and the possibility that we may be reaching this year’s rate peak too.

As such, some congestion caused by canal restrictions is an additional factor reducing capacity somewhat and helping carriers push rates up, but – barring additional significant canal restrictions – the worst of the impact could likely occur in the near term and ease as demand subsides.
Some shippers via the Panama Canal will likely experience delays in receiving shipments, but with excess capacity available in the market – and more coming soon – there should be enough slack and alternatives, if necessary, to keep rates from reaching extreme heights.

Asia - N. Europe rates dipped 5% last week, but at $1,708/FEU remain 31% higher than in July, as carriers increase capacity reduction measures to hold on to the GRI gains even as new capacity will continue to enter this lane too. Transatlantic rates dropped sharply this week as capacity added to the lane over the course of the year has outstripped declining demand. Carriers have announced September GRIs alongside increases in blanked sailings to try and push rates back up to profitable levels, with current rates of $1,308/FEU 25% below 2019 levels.

Aug 23 - Air rates - Freightos Air index:

- China - N. America weekly prices increased 7% to $3.81/kg.
- China - N. Europe weekly prices were level at $3.00/kg.
- N. Europe - N. America weekly prices fell 1% to $1.74/kg.

The air cargo charter market is likewise facing overcapacity challenges, with some carriers grounding freighters until a hoped-for rebound in December. Freightos Air Index data show transpacific rates increased 7% last week to $3.81/kg, with Asia - Europe prices stable at $3/kg and transatlantic rates ticking down 1% to $1.74/kg.

Aug 23 - Kyiv says EU transport subsidies to help Ukrainian grain export
The European Commission's decision to compensate for the costs of delivering Ukrainian grain to European seaports will improve the ability to export Ukrainian food without interruption, a senior Ukrainian official said on Tuesday. Ukraine is a major grain grower and exporter and normally ships millions of metric tons of food from its deep-water Black Sea ports of Odesa and Mykolaiv.  

Aug 23 - Egypt's GASC buys 60,000 tons of wheat in tender
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), has bought 60,000 metric tons of Romanian wheat in an international tender, it said on Tuesday. The cargo will be shipped between Oct. 5-20.

Aug 22 - Ukraine may use new Black Sea route for grain shipments
Ukraine is considering using its newly-tested wartime Black Sea export corridor for grain shipments after the first successful evacuation of a vessel along the route last week, a senior agricultural official said on Monday. Russia has blockaded Ukrainian ports since it invaded its neighbour in February 2022, and threatened to treat all vessels as potential military targets after pulling out of a U.N.-backed safe-passage deal for Black Sea grain exports last month. 

Aug 22 - Cargill chartered ship sets sail to test wind power at sea
A Cargill chartered dry bulk ship has launched on its first voyage since being fitted with special sails, aiming to study how harnessing wind power can cut emissions and energy usage in the shipping sector, the U.S. commodities group said on Monday. The maritime industry - which accounts for nearly 3% of global CO2 emissions and is under pressure from investors and environmental groups to accelerate decarbonisation - is exploring a number of different technologies including ammonia and methanol in an effort to move away from dirtier bunker fuel.

Aug 21 - China's July Australian coal imports hit 3-yr peak on healthy margins
China's imports of Australian coal rose in July even as total coal arrivals declined, with Australia's high-quality fuel remaining cheaper than domestic supplies while demand from utilities stayed strong amid stifling hot weather. China brought in 6.31 million metric tons of Australian coal last month, up from 4.83 million tons in June and the highest in three years, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday.  

Aug 21 - China July soybean imports from U.S. tumble, Brazil shipments surge
China's soybean imports from the United States tumbled 63% in July from a year earlier while shipments from Brazil, its top supplier, surged 32%, data showed on Sunday, spurred by a bumper crop and lower prices in the Latin American country. China, the world's top buyer of soybeans, imported 142,150 metric tons of the oilseed from the United States in July, down from 381,568 tons a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

Aug 18 - Fire in Russia's Novorossiysk supports wheat, despite limited impact (AgriCensus)

- A fire in the Russian city of Novorossiysk, a drone attack on Moscow and reports of a naval attack on Russian warships have been cited as the main reason for an uptick in global wheat prices, despite none of the incidents directly relating to the grain sector. A fire was reported on Friday morning at the city's cargo terminal, but it was well away from areas associated with grain shipments and is unlikely to have any impact. Trade sources also said the fire had been put out after three hours and had occurred far away from the biggest port in the Russian Black Sea area.

- It was thought to have started among wooden pallets before spreading over an area of 1,300 square meters, according to local media reports that quoted local the authorities. Information circulated that the fire had also ignited oil stored close to the site, although it was put out by 12.21 Russian time.

- Chicago soft wheat contracts were up almost 2% on the news of the fire and the attack on Moscow, while Euronext European milling wheat contracts had gained up to €3/mt as the news broke.

- Hot weather in the region will often lead to seasonal outbreaks of fires amid tinder dry conditions, but it is unusual for such fires to draw much attention. However, in recent days Russia has suffered a series of explosions, drone strikes and other incidents that have targeted the capital Moscow, the key strategic link of the Kerch Strait bridge and Russian vessels in previously safe ports such as Novorossiysk.

- Although Kyiv has declined to comment on most of the incidents, the consistency of the attacks mean the trade is starting to pay more attention to the emerging pattern, as concerns rise that the capacity to regularly hit targets in Russia could disrupt grain flow out of the country. Novorossiysk is the primary export location for much of Russia's wheat, as well as being a significant location for maritime activity and Russian naval forces. 

Aug 18 - Lack of fleet, high freight rates and low commodity prices kill Danube trade (AgriCensus)

- High freight costs, low grains and oilseed prices and a lack of available vessels are making trade difficult in the key Danube river ports, trade sources have told Agricensus Thursday in a dynamic that could cut off the primary export route for much of Ukraine's agricultural export flow.
Sea freight and demurrage looks like a killer,” one trader said.
Even before the official suspension of the grain deal agreement, trading had already been switching towards exporting from the Danube as exporters considered it a safer option. Even with mounting congestion at the entrance and exit to the Sulina canal, linking the Danube River with the Black Sea, trade has been more or less normal.

- But after the first attacks by Russian drones on the Ukrainian Danube ports in July, some owners had abandoned the region, while those who stayed have started to increase freight rates amid increased risks, especially as Russian attacks continued. This has also coincided with the seasonally higher flow of grains and oilseeds, as the new crop started to land.

- That has seen economics moving against the trade, with freight for coaster vessels jumping by almost $25/mt to the current $65/mt since the second half of July. Many vessels have been fixed in advance for later loading, but are waiting for the terminal to confirm that the cargo is available before coming into port to commence loading.
Freight sources have also said that currently there are only a few vessels open in the region for spot loading, and as such those owners are asking for higher rates in the hope that those sellers who need the fleet urgently will pay it.

- Along with that, the queues for entrance and exit of the Sulina canal are huge, with waiting time on average at the entrance said to be from 5 to 10 days, but there are also cases where some vessels will wait much longer. Currently, up to 90 vessels are waiting at the entrance to the Sulina Canal along with up to 40 vessels in the queue to exit.

- Market sources have heard reports that Romanian authorities are considering increasing the number of pilots operating in Sulina in order to improve the flow, but traders do not expect it to happen soon as Romanian authorities were said to be slow in taking any action.

"The problem is they (Romania) supply 4-5 pilots daily. But they can supply more. For entrance, after Ukraine opened the Bystre canal, Romania start to lose money and they started to work faster. But at exit, Bystre is not available due to the draft,” one trader said. Currently, the draft is limited to 7 meters, so the Ukraine-controlled Bystre canal can be used to alleviate pressure at the entrance but the deeper draft of fully loaded vessels means it can only partly help when vessels are exiting.
“Ukraine's transport minister has offered them the option to use Ukrainian pilots, but Romania refused,” the trader said.

- A similar situation was evident in May and June last year, as the number of vessels coming to the Danube approached the peak as Ukraine was using the route ahead of the opening of the Black Sea grain corridor, with 70 vessels waiting for the entrance in mid-May 2022, before it later increased further. Activity only returned to more manageable levels after the corridor deal was signed on July 22, 2022, with a big part of traders switching to deep sea ports of Pivdennyi, Odesa and Chornomorsk.

- However it is once again unclear when, or if, Ukraine's Black Sea ports will be available for export, though naval forces have opened the humanitarian corridors for now companies are refusing to enter as insurance companies are not covering such risks until Russia is not confirming the safety for such passage.

- At the time, however, the invasion was in its early stages and agricultural commodity prices were elevated, but since then a huge Russian wheat crop has been harvested and a significant difference between the two periods has been the decline in wider agriculture commodities prices worldwide. That price fall has been even more acute in the country's domestic market, as exporters have had to discount to offset increased freight and logistics costs.

- A year ago, grain prices were at least $40/mt and up to $118/mt higher, depending on origin, compared to current levels and as such, even with high freight rates, Ukrainian traders were able to compete into destinations. However, with the fall in prices it has got harder to remain competitive, especially as domestic prices in some parts of the country have already fallen below the costs of production. That also comes against the backdrop of Ukraine expected to land a bumper crop - under the circumstances - with a forecast from the agriculture ministry showing a 5% increase year-on-year to 76.7 million mt.

- Most of that volume is expected to head to the export market. In order to facilitate that, Ukraine-based traders are looking for either higher world prices - to help boost export competitiveness and absorb higher logistics costs - or the re-opening of the Pivdennyi, Odesa, Chornomorsk (POC) deep sea grain corridor.
"The solution is not to try and open up the hole, the solution is to get POC back on," a broker said.

Aug 18 - India considers wheat imports from Russia at discount to calm prices - sources
India is in talks with Russia to import wheat at a discount to surging global prices in a rare move to boost supplies and curb food inflation ahead of state and national elections next year, according to four sources. The imports would allow New Delhi to intervene more effectively in the market to drive down wheat prices that stoked inflation to a 15-month high in July.

Aug 18 - Ukraine's August grain exports via Danube at 820,000 T so far
- analyst
Ukraine in the first half of August exported 820,000 metric tons of grain via its ports on the Danube River, which is currently its main export route, the APK-Inform consultancy said late on Wednesday. APK-Inform gave no comparative figures.

Aug 17 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 16 AUGUST 2023

- AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov Sea market has firmed up further this week. 3'k wheat offers usd 50 - low 50's pmt fiost ex Rostov to Marmara for prompt dates. Vessels have to wait long for inspection before passage of  Kerch strait, and waiting time is up to 7-8 days for some non-Russian flagged vessels proceeding to the Azov Sea. Long waiting time creates delays in voyages and results in a shortage of open fleet on the market. Market players expect the freight market to firm up further.

- CASPIAN SEA:  After strong long-term stress, the market began to strengthen. The accumulation of ships in Amirabad is decreasing, and the fleet is gradually being distributed throughout the region. There are a large number of requests for shipments from river ports in the direction of the northern ports of Iran.

- BALTIC SEA: The Baltic Sea market is firming up slowly.

- FAR EAST:  In recent times, the freight market in the region has maintained a relatively stable state.

Aug 17 - Russian attack damages grain silos at Ukraine's Danube port of Reni – Kyiv
Russian drone strikes damaged grain silos and warehouses at the Ukrainian river port of Reni on the Danube, a vital wartime route for Ukrainian food exports, senior officials said on Wednesday. Russian strikes on port infrastructure on the Danube in recent weeks have piled pressure on Ukrainian food exports after Moscow quit a year-old deal that had allowed Kyiv to ship out grain via the Black Sea.

Aug 17 - US says working to identify alternative paths for Ukraine grain exports
The United States on Wednesday condemned Russia's continued attacks on Ukraine's grain infrastructure and said it was working with partners to identify alternative options to ensure Ukrainian grain exports. "The United States ... calls for Russia to immediately return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative," State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a briefing, referring to a pact that had allowed export of Ukraine grain by the Black Sea. Russia quit the deal on July 17.

Aug 16 - 'Stop machine' - Russia releases video showing navy boarding cargo ship in Black Sea
Russia on Tuesday released video footage showing an armed naval inspection unit boarding a cargo ship in the southwestern Black Sea on Sunday and questioning the captain about why the ship had not stopped when demanded to by a Russian warship. Russia said that it fired warning shots with automatic weapons at the Palau-flagged Sukru Okan vessel after it failed to respond to a demand for it to halt, though it was unclear why the ship was boarded so close to Turkey. 

Aug 16 - Ukraine says Russian drones threatened Danube port, key for grain exports
Ukraine's air force on Wednesday said a large group of Russian army drones entered the mouth of the Danube river and headed toward the Izmail river port near the border with Romania. Social media groups reported hearing air defence systems firing in the area near two Danube ports - Izmail and Reni.

Aug 15 - FREIGHTOS WEEKLY UPDATE

Ocean rates remained elevated on early-August GRIs through the end of last week as peak season volumes have increased moderately alongside increases in blanked sailings.

And while low water restrictions are causing some congestion for vessels using the Panama Canal, some reports say shippers aren’t feeling the pain in higher rates or long delays in getting goods - just yet.

Our full weekly update will be on hiatus until next week .

Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index
    •    Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 14% to $1,908/FEU.
    •    Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) climbed 9% to $2,912/FEU.
    •    Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 8% to $1,789/FEU.
    •    Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) increased 3% to $2,404/FEU.

Air rates - Freightos Air index
    •    China - N. America weekly prices increased 3% to $3.57/kg.
    •    China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 4% to $3.01/kg.
    •    N. Europe - N. America weekly prices climbed 4% to $1.76/kg.

Aug 15 - Ships backed up in Black Sea lanes as Russia warning shots raise tensions
Merchant ships remained backed up in lanes around the Black Sea on Monday as ports struggled to clear backlogs amid growing unease among insurers and shipping companies a day after a Russian warship fired warning shots at a cargo vessel. Russia said its Vasily Bykov patrol ship on Sunday fired on the Palau-flagged Sukru Okan vessel after the ship's captain failed to respond to a request to halt for an inspection. After an inspection, the vessel continued its journey towards the Ukrainian port of Izmail along the Danube river, Russia said. 

Aug 15 - Romania aims to double Ukrainian grain transit capacity -minister
Romania aims to double the monthly transit capacity of Ukrainian grain to its flagship Black Sea port of Constanta to 4 million tonnes in the coming months, particularly via the Danube river, Transport Minister Sorin Grindeanu said. Ukraine is one of the world's top grain exporters and Russia has been attacking its agricultural and port infrastructure after refusing to extend a year-old safe passage grain corridor brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. The attacks included its inland Danube ports of Reni and Izmail.

Aug 14 - Russian warship fires warning shots on cargo ship in Black Sea
A Russian warship on Sunday fired warning shots at a cargo ship in the southwestern Black Sea as it made its way northwards, the first time Russia has fired on merchant shipping beyond Ukraine since exiting a landmark UN-brokered grain deal last month. In July, Russia halted participation in the Black Sea grain deal that allowed Ukraine to export agricultural produce via the Black Sea. Moscow said that it deemed all ships heading to Ukrainian waters to be potentially carrying weapons.

Aug 14 - Ukraine starts registering ships for Black Sea corridor – agency
Ukraine, which is seeking to form safe shipping routes in the Black Sea, has started registering ships willing to use the corridor it announced earlier this week, a local news agency said on Saturday. Ukraine on Thursday announced a "humanitarian corridor" in the Black Sea to release cargo ships that have been trapped in its ports since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

Aug 11 - Ukraine announces 'humanitarian corridor' for ships stuck in Black Sea ports
Ukraine announced a "humanitarian corridor" in the Black Sea on Thursday to release cargo ships trapped in its ports since the outbreak of war, a new test of Russia's de facto blockade since Moscow abandoned a deal last month to let Kyiv export grain. At least initially, the corridor would apply to vessels such as container ships that have been stuck in Ukrainian ports since the February 2022 invasion, and were not covered by the deal that opened the ports for grain shipments last year. 

Aug 11 - Fire hits grain silos at French Atlantic port
More than 100 firefighters fought a huge blaze at grain silos in the French Atlantic port of La Rochelle on Thursday, disrupting shipping activity at one of France's biggest grain export terminals. The fire started on a conveyor belt at around 8:00 a.m. (0600 GMT) in a grain silo complex operated by SICA Atlantique, the local prefecture said.

Aug 11 - Ukrainian naval forces open the corridor for ships in the Black Sea (AgriCensus)

- Ukrainian naval forces have announced that they have opened temporary humanitarian corridors for commercial vessels operating in the Black Sea in an official statement from the country's military forces released on Thursday. The corridor had been declared open for commercial vessels to enter and leave Ukrainian Black Sea ports, but the statement warned that there remain risks of military threat and danger of naval mines from Russian naval activity. The note also said that vessels will be allowed to use the corridors only if their owners or captains officially confirm their willingness to ship in the current conditions, or are prepared to accept the risk.

- Ukraine has already offered such routes for shipments out of the Black Sea to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and the organization has recognized Ukraine’s right to continue free commercial navigation, as guaranteed by international maritime law, accoding to the statement. It was also said that the corridor will be primarily used for the vessels that have been stuck in Ukrainian ports after the full-scale war started on February 24, 2022, as previously the Black Sea corridor was only used for ships carrying agricultural products.

- The trade has taken this announcement with a degree of skepticism, as the primary concern remains the same - who will provide insurance for such shipments in the situation when Russia does not appear to have been involved in drafting the note and continues to refuse to guarantee the safety of this route?
“I want to see who will dare to call Ukraine, like some owners refuse to call Russia now. They (naval forces) can make these announcements, but the important point is if insurance will allow it,” a freight broker told Agricensus.
“I imagine people will be cautious about this. It's a good step but if it doesn't eliminate the risk, people will probably approach on a 'wait and see' basis. THat is, they will wait for somebody else to go first,” a freight analyst said.

- Earlier last month, Ukrainian officials said that they had made available an insurance fund with up to UAH20 billion (around $544 million) that the country has to cover any potential damage for such shipments. It was also said that the decision whether to cover or not any damage will be analyzed and taken by the Ukrainian government, and as such it was not fully clear how it will be working. That lack of clarity meant that many trade sources did not take the proposal too seriously.
“If we talk about the insurance fund, then individual charterers are ready to cover the entire vessel and pre-pay the freight just to make the vessel come. There are already mechanics from charterers, but not from the state, which is for now only words without anything concrete,” a second freight broker said.

He also added that a strict agreement was needed to make it work, but is absent for now.
“Even this does not eliminate the insured event, the probability of which is very high. Until Russia agrees to some kind of deal, the owners will not be sure of their safety,” he also said.

Russia has withdrawn from the Black Sea deal initiative on July 17, 2023, which stopped commercial navigation for the Ukrainian Black Sea ports, as owners were no longer prepared to risk entering the region without Russian guarantees, especially just after the stoppage of the deal Odesa region, along with ports, have been massively attacked during few consecutive days.

Aug 10 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 09 AUGUST 2023

- AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov Sea market is experiencing further growth this week, according to Owners information. They report receiving numerous offers daily and Charterers are willing to pay higher rates for vessels due to the high competition for tonnage. Owners are cautious in making agreements and prefer to gather more offers before committing. In addition to Turkey, there is also a considerable demand for cargo orders to Egypt in the market. Despite the current trend, many market players express doubt that this growth will last long and anticipate potential changes.
Following the recent accident involving the Kerch bridge, stricter transshipment regulations have been implemented at the Kavkaz transshipment area. This has resulted in fewer available transshipment points and significantly increased waiting times for both coaster vessels and mother (handy) vessels.

- CASPIAN SEA: This week, the Caspian market remains highly stressed. A large number of ships have accumulated in the roads of the northern ports of Iran. Export shipments from Astrakhan are limited, while the demand for transportation from river ports has significantly risen.

- BALTIC SEA: The Baltic Sea market has experienced a rebound from the lowest levels seen this summer and is now showing a slight upward trend due to an increase in available cargoes. Additionally, there is a notable presence of the Mediterranean Sea trading vessels in the area actively seeking profitable opportunities.

- FAR EAST: The market is growing stronger every week. There is a steady increase in the number of export shipments.

Aug 10 - FREIGHTOS Ocean rates WEEKLY UPDATE, August 9, 2023

Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index:
•    Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 9% to $1,672/FEU.
•    Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) increased 3% to $2,667/FEU.
•    Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) climbed 31% to $1,655/FEU.
•    Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) increased 18% to $2,345/FEU.

August General Rate Increases (GRI) pushed ex-Asia ocean rates up sharply to start the month on a combination of demand rebounds and stricter capacity reductions by carriers.

Transpacific weekly average rates increased to $1,672/FEU to the West Coast last week, and $2,677/FEU to the East Coast. But West Coast prices have climbed to $1,900/FEU so far this week, a 44% increase compared to mid-July and 23% higher than in 2019. East Coast rates reached $2,883/FEU yesterday, a 20% increase since mid-July and 2% higher than in 2019.

These price increases are partly driven by some demand recovery.

National Retail Federation US ocean import data estimates that July volumes increased 4% compared to June. And though July numbers would be 3% lower than in 2019, imports are projected to increase in August and remain elevated through October – in line with typical seasonality and 3-6% above 2019 levels. Based on projections through December, total 2023 volumes would show 3% growth relative to 2019, slightly below the 2012 - 2019 average annual growth rate of 4.2%.

But even as peak season gets underway, carriers are having to reduce capacity in order to get rates to climb, reflecting the generally over-supplied state of the market as fleet sizes continue to grow.   

Another factor for Asia - US East Coast rates is the low water level in the Panama Canal. Though some surcharges and restrictions have been in place since June without significant impacts on rates or operations, the first reports of congestion and a ship having to offload containers before entering the canal this week point to the potential for this situation to cause disruptions.

Asia - Europe GRIs pushed ocean rates to $1,655/FEU last week and up to $1,782/FEU so far this week, a 37% increase on July and 28% higher than in 2019. This lane has seen moderate volume growth in the last few months with June imports 3% higher than last year. But like on the transpacific, the rate climb is only likely to stick if accompanied by significant and sustained capacity reductions.

Asia - Mediterranean demand remains particularly strong, and has been the driver of rates remaining above 2019 levels this year even as prices fell on other trade lanes.  As carriers added capacity to the lane prices fell about 17% in July from the elevated level of about $2,400/FEU it had sustained since April, but a GRI last week has pushed prices back up to $2,423/FEU this week, 38% higher than in 2019.

Transatlantic volumes meanwhile have been declining gradually since last May, and in June dipped below 2019 levels. Carriers had shifted capacity to this lane earlier in the year as transpacific demand sagged, but as volumes and rates – this week at $1,688/FEU – fall below pre-pandemic levels, carriers are beginning to shift capacity away.

In labor news, the ILWU Canada membership ratified the revised agreement with port operators late last week, putting an end to the dispute that had shut down Canadian ports for the first half of July. US LTL carrier Yellow, which had ceased operations last week and blames Teamsters for hastening its demise, filed for bankruptcy protection this week, with competitor XPO announcing a planned increase in capacity as Yellow has exited the market.

Aug 10 - FREIGHTOS Air rates WEEKLY UPDATE, August 9, 2023

Air rates - Freightos Air index
•    China - N. America weekly prices decreased 12% to $3.48/kg
•    China - N. Europe weekly prices increased 2% to $3.14/kg.
•    N. Europe - N. America weekly prices fell 6% to $1.69/kg.

In air cargo, some observers think the demand lull has reached its floor and should start a gradual recovery. For now Freightos Air Index data shows Asia - Europe air rates have been stable, at about the $3/kg level since about May with weekly rates ticking up 2% to $3.14/kg last week, about 40% lower than a year ago. Transpacific rates fell 12% this week to $3.48/kg, more than 50% below last year and transatlantic prices fell 6% to $1.69/kg and 44% lower than last August.

Aug 10 - Australia's largest grain exporter to resume China barley trade
Australia's largest bulk grain exporter, CBH Group, has been cleared to resume barley shipments to China, the Australian government said on Wednesday, days after China removed steep anti-dumping tariffs on Australian barley imports. China suspended barley imports from CBH Grain, a subsidiary of CBH Group, in late 2020 after allegedly finding quarantine pests in cargoes. The suspension came during a low point in relations, when China restricted a range of Australian imports including barley, wine, coal and lobsters. 

Aug 10 - China's renewed appetite for Australian coal disrupts Asia flows: Russell
China's renewed appetite for Australian coal after Beijing ended its unofficial ban on imports, coupled with strong overall demand for the fuel used to generate power, is forcing a realignment of seaborne flows in Asia. China's total coal imports have soared this year, with customs data released on Aug. 8 showing July imports at 39.26 million metric tons, level with June's 39.87 million but up a massive 66.9% from the same month last year.

Aug 09 - Black Sea exporters struggle to clear Danube shipping backlog
Dozens of ships are backed up around critical Danube arteries close to Ukraine's river gateways days after Russian drone attacks on the country's ports, shipping data showed on Tuesday. The river and its mouth are Ukraine's last remaining waterborne grain export route.  

Aug 09 - After attacking Ukraine wheat exports, Russia faces own shipping challenge
Russia's lack of ships and Western grain traders' shrinking appetite for business with Moscow are adding to rising costs of moving Russian wheat, at a time when the war in Ukraine has spilled perilously close to vital Black Sea supply routes. President Vladimir Putin promised to replace Ukrainian grain with Russian shipments to Africa after Moscow in July ended an arrangement that gave Ukraine's food cargo safe passage in the Black Sea, imposing a de-facto blockade on its neighbour and attacking storage facilities, in an escalation of the war.

Aug 08 - Kazakhstan in talks with Abu Dhabi Ports on agricultural exports
Kazakhstan is in talks with Abu Dhabi Ports to set up a joint venture that would help ship Kazakh agricultural exports via Iran and then Gulf ports, the Central Asian nation's government said on Monday. Kazakhstan, a significant exporter of agricultural commodities such as grains and oilseeds, wants to ship cargoes to Iran via the Caspian Sea and have them delivered to Iranian Gulf ports such as Amirabad and Bandar Abbas and then further to other destinations in the Gulf, Asia and Africa, it said.

Aug 08 - Egypt's GASC seeks wheat in international tender
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, is seeking wheat in an international tender for shipment Sept. 15-30 and/or Oct. 1-15, 2023. GASC said the deadline for submitting offers was Aug. 8 at GASC's offices in the New Administrative Capital.

Aug 07 - Live and don't learn. The lesson of China's failed Australia trade bans: Russell
One of the main tools of statecraft in recent years has been trade sanctions or tariffs, but with China taking another step to normalising its trade relationship with Australia, the main lesson is these actions seldom work. In fact, they are more likely to backfire on the nation imposing the trade action, especially if it is unilateral and not supported by significant players in the rest of the international community. 

Aug 07 - Kremlin says it needs actions, not words from U.S. regarding Black Sea grain deal
Russia said on Friday it needed actions, not promises, from the United States to meet the conditions it has set for a return to the Black Sea grain deal. Russia last month declined to renew the deal that had allowed Ukraine to ship grain from its Black Sea ports despite the war, saying not enough had been done to remove obstacles to its own exports of food and fertiliser. It said it was ready to return to the agreement as soon as those issues were addressed.

Aug 04 - Ukraine investigating attacks on grain ports as potential war crimes
Ukraine's prosecutor general is investigating Russian attacks on its agriculture infrastructure since July as potential war crimes, the office told Reuters on Thursday. Shelling on agriculture installations intensified after Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative export deal with Ukraine on July 17.

Aug 04 - Panama Canal seen losing $200 mln next year as ship crossings dip
The Panama Canal expects its revenue to shrink by about $200 million in its next fiscal year due to crossing restrictions meant to save water as a consequence of an unprecedented drought, its administrator announced on Thursday. The projected losses come as the transoceanic waterway key to moving hundreds of billions of dollars in global trade each year expects its daily average for cargo ship crossings to slide by about 16%.

Aug 03 - Russia strikes Ukraine's Danube port, driving up global grain prices
Russia attacked Ukraine's main inland port across the Danube River from Romania on Wednesday, sending global food prices higher as it ramped up its use of force to prevent Ukraine from exporting grain. The drone attacks destroyed buildings in the port of Izmail and halted ships as they prepared to arrive there to load with Ukrainian grain in defiance of a de-facto blockade Russia reimposed in mid-July.

Aug 03 - Australia's Liontown agrees to deliver lithium direct shipping ore product
Australia's Liontown Resources Ltd said on Thursday it had agreed to deliver lithium direct shipping ore (DSO) product ahead of first concentrate production at its flagship Kathleen Valley lithium project. DSO, which is a relatively unprocessed ore and is easier to produce, is expected to provide an early source of revenue for the company, which has been a takeover target.

Aug 03 - NITRO SHIPPING FREIGHT REPORT FOR GRAINS 02 AUGUST 2023

AZOV SEA & BLACK SEA: The Azov freight market started to rise seriously this week. A lot of cargoes appeared on the market for the mid of August dates. Owners are showing usd 42 pmt fiost ex Rostov to Marmara. However, some charterers have managed to secure rates of usd 38 pmt fiost ex Rostov to Marmara for 3'k wheat in prompt dates. Owners, in light of this situation, are inclined to wait for spot opportunities to fix their vessels, as they anticipate further strengthening of the market. With Turkey finally showing demand, market players are optimistic that the rates will continue to firm up.

CASPIAN SEA: This week, the freight market in the Caspian Sea experienced a significant decline primarily due to a reduced demand from Iranian buyers. The number of new contracts has decreased, resulting in a falling in export shipments. Currently, the latest deals with Astrakhan are being made at an average of 40's. The stability of shipments from Makhachkala is maintained. There is a congestion of ships in the roadstead.

BALTIC SEA: Currently, Baltic coaster market is facing a notable downturn. There is a shortage of cargo and an excess of available vessel positions that are seeking suitable employment. As a result, many traders from the Mediterranean region, who typically operate in different areas, are now exploring Baltic Sea in hopes of finding profitable cargo opportunities.

FAR EAST: The freight market in the region remains stable.

Aug 02 - Ukraine's Danube port Izmail again closed following Russian attack (AgriCensus)

- Ukrainian port and grain infrastructure along the Danube river in the southern Odesa region have again been hit by Russian drones just days after a previous attack temporarily closed the port, regional authorities have said Wednesday. The attacks have again stopped activity in the port of Izmail, an increasingly important link in the country's export capacity after Russia pulled out of the Black Sea grain corridor agreement.

- According to official data, three stationary storage areas covering an area of 1,000 m2, an elevator, a warehouse roof, and an administrative building were engulfed in fire before being tackled by firefighters. Trade sources spoken to by Agricensus said that a warehouse containing rapeseed owned by an international company had been destroyed. Port authorities did not comment on the extent of the damage sustained, but work in the port of Izmail was suspended for an indefinite period until a full appraisal of the damage had been completed and new instructions received. Trade sources also said that a barge containing sunflower oil was damaged in the attack, but Agricensus could find no confirmation among officials or market sources.

However, the attack would likely see more vessel cancelations and further upward pressure on freight rates as owners factor in the increased risk.
"Now there are attempts to cancel bookings, but there are also those who promise to give vessels, and there are those who ask to increase the price for freight," one freight broker said of the confused situation.

- The attack also came on the same day of a planned conversation about a possible return to and extension of the grain corridor that had been expected to be held between the Presidents of Turkey and Russia. On July 24, a week after the termination of the grain deal and Ukraine's statements about the possibility of independently ensuring the operation of the grain corridor, Russia began attacking the port infrastructure in Ukraine's deep-water and Danube ports.

- The escalation caused panic in the market, pushing prices for commodities and freight sharply higher as traders feared a complete blockade of Ukrainian exports from all bulk export options. The move also accelerated talks about the possibility of moving Ukrainian agriculture products through other alternative routes, such as rail and trucks, rather than increasingly perilous seaborne routes.

Aug 01 - OCEAN FREIGHTOS WEEKLY UPDATE (Freightos)

Ocean rates - Freightos Baltic Index
•    Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 12% to $1,527/FEU.
•    Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) climbed 3% to $2,598/FEU.
•    Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) dipped 2% to $1,264/FEU.
•    Asia-Mediterranean prices (FBX13 Weekly) increased 2% to $1,992/FEU.

Yellow’s last attempts to stay afloat in the face of mounting debt and an ongoing labor dispute fell short last week, as the LTL carrier ceased operations and will reportedly file for bankruptcy.  Yellow was one of the US’s largest carriers, and LTL rates are expected to climb in the near term as their capacity is removed from the market.

The dispute causing the on again off again ILWU Canada port worker strike appears – once again – to have been resolved. Union members voted down a tentative agreement late last week raising the prospect of a renewed strike until leadership accepted a revised proposal Sunday night which will head back to members for ratification later this week.  Though operations have returned to normal since mid-month, the rail backlog built up over the shutdown could take up to two months to clear.  

More signs of US economic health in Q2, including consumer spending strength, are stoking optimism that inflation will be brought under control without pushing the economy into recession.

This consumer resiliency contributed to estimates that US ocean volumes grew moderately in July and will climb into August, though some major forwarders do not expect gains through October to qualify as a true peak season.

And though transpacific rates have climbed 13% to the West Coast and 9% to the East Coast since mid-July, these increases are likely more a function of stricter reductions in capacity than of surging volumes, as carriers work to reduce over-supplied fleets.

There is less economic optimism in Europe, and few signs of an imminent freight rebound. Even so, carriers will attempt a $600/FEU Asia - N. Europe rate increase to start the month, though consensus is that this push won't succeed.

Aug 01 - AIR FREIGHTOS WEEKLY UPDATE
(Freightos)

Air rates - Freightos Air index
•    China - N. America weekly prices decreased 8% to $3.94/kg.
•    China - N. Europe weekly prices fell 1% to $3.09/kg.
•    N. Europe - N. America weekly prices fell 1% to $1.79/kg.

In air cargo, forwarders are likewise not expecting much of a rebound during the November - December  peak season, or a return to growth before 2024 at the earliest.  Still-active long-term freighter charters leased while demand surged are – together with passenger travel growth –  contributing to current overcapacity, pushing rates down as demand sags.

The Freightos Air Index Global benchmark closed July level with June but 29% lower than a year ago. China -N. Europe rates ticked up 2% to $3.09/kg in July and China - US prices were at $3.94/kg, for a 4% increase, but 31% and 47% lower than a year ago, respectively. Transatlantic rates fell 11% to $1.79/kg, about 40% lower than a year ago.

Aug 01 - Canada dock workers' union, employers reach tentative deal, avert strike
A dock workers' union on Canada's West Coast and port employers have provisionally agreed to a new labour contract, averting an immediate strike, but the agreement needs to be approved by workers who rejected a previous deal. Ottawa intervened in the labour dispute in an effort to keep two of Canada's three busiest ports, the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, open after a nearly two-week strike disrupted more than C$6 billion ($4.6 billion) in trade.  

Aug 01 - Argentina grain inspectors end hours-long strike after government steps in
Grain shipments in the Argentine transport hub of Rosario normalized on Monday afternoon after inspectors suspended their hours-long protest following an order from the government, the local chamber of Port and Maritime Activities (CAPyM) and the union said. The mandatory conciliation order from the government forces the grains inspectors, who had been calling for higher wages, to pause their protest in order to enter negotiations with the companies grain buyers contract to control the quality of shipments.

VLCC market to stay supported amid coronavirus outbreak: International Seaways

"Cargoes are still moving and the liftings are still happening," Zabrocky said. In Full »

INTERVIEW: Mercuria subsidiary Minerva Bunkering starts operations at Fujairah

"Between our bunker tankers and the storage terminal, we think we're logistically well positioned," Baron said. In Full »

TANKERS: Panama Canal to decrease maximum allowable draft to 45.5 ft

The ACP said that the change is based on the present and projected level of the Gatun Lake for the upcoming weeks. In Full »

Singapore LSFO prices have hit bottom, but sustained demand unlikely before April: traders

"We have received more inquiries in the last two trading days than when prices were low last week," a bunker supplier said. In Full »

All transport needs to be decarbonized to hit EU's Green Deal target: consultancy

If the European Commission is to achieve its 2050 net-zero ambitions then all transport needs to be fully decarbonized, including aviation, consultancy Transport and Environment said Wednesday. In Full »

Big Oil's resistance to coronavirus-led price drop set to be tested

Oil majors are likely to keep investment plans intact in the coming months but could have to reassess should oil prices drop well below $50/b for a sustained length of time, according to analysts. In Full »

EC sets out climate law to hit net zero emissions by 2050

The European Commission unveiled Wednesday its legislative proposal to enshrine in law a goal to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. In Full »

Saudi-led coalition in Yemen says it foiled oil tanker attack in Arabian Sea

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen fighting Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels said Wednesday it had foiled an attack on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea by four remote-controlled boats. In Full »

Open interest for ICE March Singapore HSFO swap contracts rises 18% on month in Feb

Total open interest for the March Singapore high sulfur fuel oil swap contracts traded on the Intercontinental Exchange rose 18% month on month to 6.13 million mt as of February 28, data from the exchange showed this week. In Full »

Weak European refining margins prompt run cuts, crude values slide

In Full »

Gazprom Neft boosts IMO 2020-compliant marine fuel sales by 47% in 2019

Russian oil major Gazprom Neft sold around 350,000 mt of IMO 2020-compliant marine fuel in 2019, about 47% higher than 2018's level, the company said in a press release.