This is a short week for the freight market in view of the long Easter weekend holidays ahead. As with most of the short trading week, the market is hard to read, and the situation is worsen given the context of a looming trade war.

A demand driven market recovery caused the dry bulk market to improve significantly in 2017, although from a historically low level the year before, minor bulks specialist Pacific Basin Shipping said while releasing its full year results, in which it finally returned to a $3.6m profit on revenue of $1.5bn.

Following on the heels of a strong protest from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) last week, European shipowners have also spoken out against a decree imposing a cabotage policy on certain commodities that Indonesia has adopted recently.

The capesize market took a hammering throughout the week as the lack of cargoes and tonnage oversupply problem persisted. The under-pressure capesize market pulled the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) to a five-month low at 1,139 points, down 25 points day-on-day at Thursday, 18 January 2018.

Hubline is keeping up the momentum to transform itself with yet another round of fund raising to raise more money to put itself on a better financial footing and for expansion into the bulk cargo segment.

Bimco says that caution will be needed in 2018 to sustain the improvement in shipping markets last year, with China remaining as the driving force of demand.

Dry bulk shipowners are not helping their own cause by a failure to scrap vessels, which will lead to an “extremely volatile” market recovery warns Precious Shipping.

This week began with a blast as the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) reached a three-year high to 1,503 points on Monday before plunging down toward the 1,429 by mid-week. The short-lived joy reminisced a last summer hurrah as freight rates made the final cavalry charge just before China’s Golden holiday from 1 – 8 October, where rates are likely to lie low throughout.

New York-based shipping, trading and finance enterprise Foremost Group has approached China’s Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) to build two additional 180,000 dwt bulk carriers, adding on to an earlier order placed in June this year.

Taiwan’s Wisdom Marine has aborted a plan to build two new 115,000-dwt aframax tankers at Japan Marine United Corporation.

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