Τhe war in Ukraine continues and there is nothing on the horizon that leaves hope for a de-escalation of tensions in the region. The news coming in daily, actually shows that the situation in the Black Sea is getting worse, making seaborne trade in the region even more difficult. In the middle of the previous week Russia launched a drone attack on the Ukrainian inland port of Izmail. The port of Izmail has become a key export port for Ukraine after the collapse of the Black Sea Grain initiative. Port infrastructure and grain silos were heavily damaged in a time when grain shipments via Danube had been expanding rapidly since the start of the war as an alternative export route.
Many ships are now hesitating to use that port and participate in the seaborne grain trade, leading to a further decrease in vessel supply and an unexpected freight rate increase. The Russian drone attack on the Danube didn’t only affect port infrastructure and grain silos but also destroyed a seafarers’ centre run formerly by the International Transport Workers’ Federation Seafarers’ Trust. The centre has been housing families made homeless by bombing in other parts of the country, giving another strike to the Ukrainians seafarers. Following the Russian drone attack, Ukrainian sea drones attacked Russian navy ships at the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, creating more havoc to the already “damaged” seaborne trade of the Black Sea. The port was full of tankers waited to load crude oil, as at the port is a loading terminal of the 1,500km pipeline transporting Kazakh crude oil, a pipeline that is not subject to the Western sanctions. This attack may create further disruptions to the crude oil trade as Novorossiysk is not only a key hub for Russian’s oil exports but also a key port for Kazakh oil exports, which is freely transported without any restrictive conditions from the War. More than 90% of Kazakhstan’s oil reaches export markets via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), constituting a major source of income for Kazakhstan and heading mainly towards Greece, Germany, China, France, and South Korea. This attack on an oil export Port is likely to cause concern in the US and other Western capitals as their intention putting the price cap on Russian oil was to keep Russian oil in the market to stop global prices from rising and damaging the world economy. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s State Hydrographic Service warned on Friday night that the Russian Black Sea ports of Taman, Anapa, Novorossiysk, Gelendzhik, Tuapse and Sochi should now be considered subject to “military threat”, adding more uncertainty to both charterers and owners that are still active in the area. This further disruption at the seaborne oil trade in Black Sea will risk Russian and Kazakh oil supply to the markets, will hurt the already weak global economy.
On a different tone, earlier this week China’s capital Beijing was hit by tropical storm Doksuri which resulted in the heaviest rainfall in 140 years. Those torrential rains have affected Chinese coal prices as many cities and industrial areas have reduced the power consumption. Furthermore, the devastating weather has caused factories to halt or curtail production, while the lower temperatures have reduced the need for air conditioning electricity. As a result, we may see a drop on China’s coal imports. In June 2023 China has more than doubled its seaborne coking coal and steam coal imports to around six thousand tonnes and 27 thousand tonnes respectively compared to a year ago. Moreover, Panama Canal’s measure implementation of reduction the daily transit capacity to an average of 32 ocean-going vessels per day, around 8 vessels per day less than Canal’s peak performance may be also a headache for the coal market. According to coal market sources coal ships divert their usual route away from the Panama Canal as a result of rising vessels traffic delays.
Moving to the oil market, group leader Saudi Arabia extended a production cut aimed at stabilizing global oil markets as OPEC+ remained on course. Saudi Arabia announced that it will continue reducing its oil production unilaterally by 1 million barrels a day till September and possibly further thereafter in order to support the fragile market. WTI crude prices closed the week at around USD 82/ barrel, recording 6-consecutive week gains, and standing at the highest level since mid-April 2023, despite uncertainty over China’s economic recovery clouds the outlook for demand.
Sale and Purchase:
On dry S&P activity, clients of Norden sold the Scrubber fitted Ultramax “Nord Amazon” – 64K/2020 Oshima for USD 32 mills to Greek buyers. On the same sector, clients of Unity acquired the Ultramax “Nord Everest” – 60K/2016 Oshima for region/ excess USD 24.5 mills. The Open Hatch Box Shaped “KK Mineral”- 45K/2017 Tsuneishi Zhoushan changed hands for USD 22 mills. Last but not least, the Handysize “Bulk Trader” – 38K/2018 Avic Weihai was sold for region USD 20 mills basis TC back till Feb 2024.
On tanker S&P activity, the VLCC “V. Trust” – 301K/2017 HHI was sold and already delivered to clients of HMM for USD 90 mills. Moving down the sizes, Concordia Maritime announced the sales of 2x Ice Class 1B LR1 vessels, the “Stena Premium” – 65K/2011 Brodosplit and the “Stena Progress” – 65K/2009 Brodosplit for an undisclosed price. However, the transaction will generate a liquidity of approximately SEK 100 mills (around USD 9.46 mills) after repayments of loans and liabilities to related parties. Finally, on Chemical sector, the “Ad Princess”- 7K/2012 Zhejiang Haicheng changed hands for USD 5.8 mills.
Xclusiv Shipbrokers Inc.