Dry Cargo

Vintage handies in demand to shift grain out of the Black Sea

While it is becoming clear that sales in dry cargo are cooling off, one size and one region stand out in the week’s sales column. 

A string of vintage handysize bulkers is reported sold to nations active in the Black Sea. Owners from the Middle East, Turkey, and Syria have reportedly laid down the winning bids for a handful of smaller bulkers. Brokers note the sale of the 1996-built, 26,000 dwt A Racer, the same sized Althea, the 18,000 dwt Quantra, the 28,000 dwt Maria L, and the 27,000 dwt African Falcon

Unsurprisingly, some owners want to trade between Black Sea mines as grain cargoes from Ukraine are ready to be fixed following yesterday’s news that the 29,292 dwt Razoni bulk carrier departed from the port of Odesa, becoming the trial first vessel to transit the Black Sea from Ukrainian waters in more than six months.

According to brokers Braemar, enquiries for ships in the region have been largely for handies given their size due to the shallower draft requirements in some ports in Africa where much of the cargo will head.

“Due to the time pressure of the situation and risk of heading to Ukraine amid plenty of safety concerns, these Handies are unsurprisingly commanding a considerable premium to any period rates currently being discussed in the Atlantic elsewhere,” Braemar noted in a dry bulk markets update.

Based on the estimates of 20m tonnes needing to be shipped over the coming four months, Braemar estimates 371 or 715 loadings on supramaxes and handies, respectively. As enquiries have been largely handy-based thus far, it is safe to assume these will make up the majority of the vessel-mix potentially lifting these cargoes.

Cargo order volumes for agricultural commodities loading in Ukraine spiked last week to more than five times higher than the average since war began with Russia in late February, according to chartering platform Shipfix.

Hans Thaulow

Hans Henrik Thaulow is an Oslo-based journalist who has been covering the shipping industry for the last 15 years. As well as some work for the Informa Group, Hans was the China correspondent for TradeWinds. He also contributes to Maritime CEO magazine. Hans’ shipping background extends to working as a shipbroker trainee with Simpson, Spence & Young in Hong Kong.
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