Baltic resolves issues posed by capesize vessel change

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Jeremy Penn
Jeremy Penn

Changes in the capesize fleet profile have led the Baltic Exchange to announce that it will cease panel based reporting of its 172,000dwt 4 Timecharter Average (172 4TC) data from 31st July 2015 and instead provide data derived from its assessments of the more commonly traded 180,000dwt type capesize vessel.

The move follows a decline in the number of 172,000dwt vessels trading and a growing difficulty for the Exchange’s panel of shipbrokers to provide accurate assessments for this vessel type.

After in-depth consultation with the market, the Baltic Exchange has established a two-step mechanism to allow for the settlement of existing Forward Freight Agreement (FFA) open interest as well as the large number outstanding Contracts of Affreightments (COAs) and period charters based on the Exchange’s daily 172 4TC service.

Under the new arrangements the 172 4TC rates will initially be derived from a new calculation of a 180 4TC rate at a constant dollar differential. The differential will be established on 31st July and applied until 23rd December 2016.

From 2nd January 2017 and until all relevant FFA open interest has settled, the published daily rate for the 172 4TC will be at a fixed differential to the Baltic Exchange’s 180 5TC rate. The differential will be established and published on 31st July 2015 by reference to the average difference between the panellist reported 172 4TC and the 180 5TC for the preceding 12 months.

Commenting on the changes, Baltic Exchange Chief Executive Jeremy Penn said: “The Baltic Exchange has been providing dual assessments based on 180,000dwt and 172,000dwt 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 172,000dwt vessels will soon mean that our shipbroker panellists will be unable to provide robust assessments for this specific vessel size.

“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.”

He added: “When we launched our reporting services for the 180,000dwt 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. I’m pleased that we have been able to resolve the issue swiftly and let our member companies focus on their day-to-day activities without needing to worry about the technicalities of future settlement.”

According to analysis by SSY Consultancy and Research there are currently 191 vessels (total 32.87m dwt) of between 170,000-174,999dwt versus 317 vessels (total 57.34m dwt) of between 180,000-185,000dwt. No vessel in the 170,000-174,999dwt range has been built since 2012 whilst 68 vessels in the 180,000 –185,000dwt range have been built since 2013. A further 113 180,000–185,000dwt vessels are scheduled to enter the fleet by the end of 2017.