Under the shadow of a likely trade war between US and China, the freight market showed lethargy with little activities and weaker derivatives.

The Capesize market was hard hit after force majeure was being declared in Guinea this week. The declaration had increased the supply of vessels across the Asia-Pacific and Atlantic basins, thus bringing down Capesize freight rates in the process.

Continuing its consolidation of the sector Star Bulk Carriers is buying Songa Bulk in a cash and share deal worth $327.95m.

The Capesize rate has breached over the $20,000 level on Wednesday, supported by the bullish steel demand in China. Initially, the rally in Capesize rates started early in the week, making the biggest gains for front months on Tuesday, 8 May 2018.

The freight market has returned to pre-Labour Day holiday level by the end of the week, thanks to robust steel demand.

The freight market went relatively quiet for the week, ahead of the upcoming May holiday in China. There were no last-ditch fixtures seen just before holidays period and the strong Capesize rates might be the only deterrent for the Baltic Dry Index to slide under the 1,300 level and allowed the index to stabilise at a respectable level of 1,375 reading on Thursday, 26 April 2018.

The Baltic Dry index (BDI) seemed to walk out of its shadow and posted an uptick this week, with improvement seen in the Capesize market as well as support drawn from the consistent-performed Panamax market.

Reflecting the sluggish commodities trading conditions in the first quarter, the terminals managed by Qinhuangdao Port saw flat to slightly negative growth in almost all segments except container throughput.

Tariffs, or rather the prospect of trade disruptions because of them, are “rocking the boat” in a big way.

The future is in end-to-end management of dry bulk cargoes, especially coal, and Indonesian company Asian Bulk Logistics (ABL) is positioning itself to be ahead of the curve in terms of meeting the requirements of clients as a potential cabotage ruling on certain bulk cargoes from Indonesia looms.

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