Dry CargoFinance and Insurance

Baltic Exchange discharges its smaller capesize benchmark

Athens: The Baltic Exchange will stop panel-based reporting of rates on the 172,000-dwt 4 timecharter average (172 4TC) benchmark route for capesize bulk carriers from July 31.

The move will allow the Exchange to focus on routes for 180,000-dwt capesizes, which are more commonly traded.

“The Baltic Exchange has been providing dual assessments based on 180,000-dwt and 172,000-dwt vessels since February 2014 and we have observed a correlation of over 99% between the two contracts. Faster than anticipated scrapping levels of the older 172,000-dwt vessels will soon mean that our shipbroker panellists will be unable to provide robust assessments for this specific vessel size,” Baltic Exchange chief executive Jeremy Penn said today.

“The Baltic Exchange cannot make panel-based assessments on an increasingly rarely traded vessel type, but publishing a derived rate provides the FFA market with a workable solution and robust settlement data.

“When we launched our reporting services for the 180,000-dwt vessels we hoped to run a dual reporting service until January 2017, but the accelerated phase-out of the smaller vessels has forced us to reassess our approach.”

The Baltic Exchange has established a two-step mechanism to allow for the settlement of existing forward freight agreement (FFA) open interests, as well as the large number of outstanding contracts of affreightment (COAs) and period charters based on the Exchange’s daily 172 4TC service.

The Baltic said it was growing increasingly difficult for its panel of shipbrokers to provide accurate assessments for 172,000-dwt capes.

There are currently 191 capesize vessels (32.87m dwt in total) of between 170,000 and 174,999 dwt, compared to 317 vessels (57.34m dwt in total) of between 180,000-185,000 dwt, according to SSY Consultancy and Research figures.

No vessel in the 170,000- to 174,999-dwt range has been built since 2012, whereas 68 vessels in the 180,000- to 185,000-dwt range have been built since 2013, with a further 113 due to enter the fleet by the end of 2017.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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