Supramaxes outperform Capesizes: Eagle Bulk

  • Market: Agriculture, Coal
  • 05/08/22

Demand growth for the "minor bulks" carried by Supramax dry bulk carriers is outpacing that of "major bulks" typically carried by larger Capesize bulkers, contributing to higher returns for shipowners focusing on the medium-sized segment, according to shipowner Eagle Bulk.

Minor bulk cargoes, comprised of commodities like bauxite, cement, and fertilizers, are typically smaller than the iron ore and coal cargoes loaded on to the much larger Capesize bulkers. From March 2021-March 2022, 68pc of Eagle Bulk's overall cargo mix for its fleet of 52 medium-sized vessels was comprised of minor bulk cargoes.

According to the company, superior growth fundamentals for minor bulks are "evident" as overall minor bulk demand in 2022 is expected to grow 1.1pc while demand for major bulks will decline by 0.8pc.

Eagle Bulk cited data that shows demand for iron ore, coal and grain, the trade-driving "major bulks" of the dry bulk market, are projected to decline by 0.5pc, 0.3pc and 2.8pc, respectively, in 2022. Meanwhile, demand for minor bulks such as "agribulks", or agricultural products other than grain, "forest products" such as lumber, and aluminum base material bauxite is projected to grow in 2022 by 1.1pc, 1.3pc, and 7.9pc, respectively.

"This is the primary reason Supramaxes have been the best performing asset class this year, outpacing Capesizes by $8,000/day even though they're one-third the size and cost about 40pc less," the company said.

The average time charter equivalent (TCE) rate in the second quarter for Eagle Bulk rose to $30,207/d, up from $21,580/d a year earlier. The increase was attributed by Eagle Bulk to shifting grain and coal trade routes because of the war in Ukraine increasing ton mileage for dry bulkers, which was positive for fleet utilization and, "in turn, supportive of rates".

Profit in the quarter rose to $94.4m, assisted by the sale of a 2004-built Supramax for $15.8m, up from the prior year's much lower $9.2m profit after the company purchased two 2015 scrubber-fitted for $44m. Along with the sale of the Supramax, profits rose in the quarter as a result of the competitiveness of Supramax and Ultramax bulkers compared with other segments of the dry bulk industry.


Sharelinkedin-sharetwitter-sharefacebook-shareemail-share

Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

News
22/04/24

Brazil 1Q tallow exports triple on long-term contracts

Brazil 1Q tallow exports triple on long-term contracts

Sao Paulo, 22 April (Argus) — Brazilian beef tallow exports totaled 73,930 metric tonnes (t) in the first quarter, a three-fold increase from the same three-month period in 2023 on rising demand. Almost 93pc of outflows between January and March were shipped to the US, according to data from Brazil's trade ministry. Long-term contracts explain the rising flow of exports, even though spot market arbitrage was closed throughout the first quarter (see chart) . The price of tallow in the Paranagua and Santos ports was $960/t fob on 19 April, keeping the arbitrage closed to US Gulf coast buyers, where the reference product was at $901/t on a delivered inland basis. Brazilian tallow is also negotiated at a premium against soybean oil, which closed at $882/t fob Paranagua on 19 April. This scenario has been observed since the 1 December 2023 start of Argus ' tallow export price assessment. Historically, vegetable oil in Brazil was traded at a discount to tallow, but strong demand has boosted the price of animal fat. Some biodiesel plants have been purchasing used cooking oil (UCO) or pork fat as an alternative. In 2023, there were doubts about whether the outflow of tallow from Brazil would be constant. Market participants now believe that the 2024 start of operations at new renewable diesel refineries in the US should sustain exports. Local suppliers that have already signed supply guarantee contracts — some up to three years — with American buyers are also considering export opportunities with Asia, including a new renewable diesel plant in Singapore that could receive Brazilian cargoes. Expansion projects are propelling US demand, including work that would bring capacity at Marathon Petroleum's Martinez Renewables plants in California to 2.35mn m³/y (40,750 b/d)and the Phillips 66 Rodeo unit in northern Californiato 3mn m³/y. These and other new projects will increase annual US demand for tallow by 5mn t. Maintenance on the horizon Maintenance at US refineries has Brazilian sellers bracing for a short-term drop in prices. Between May and June the Diamond Green Diesel (DGD) unit in Port Arthur, Texas, will shut down for maintenance, a stoppage that could impact demand for Brazilian inputs. Market participants have already observed a slight increase in domestic tallow supply, a change they attribute to maintenance at DGD. The advance of the soybean crop in Argentina is also expected to increase the supply of feedstocks to North American plants, as some refineries are returning to soybean oil after a hiatus of several years. The soybean oil quote on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is an important reference for the price of tallow. By Alexandre Melo Renewable feedstocks in Brazil on fob basis R/t Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Read more
News

Baltimore opens third temporary shipping channel


22/04/24
News
22/04/24

Baltimore opens third temporary shipping channel

New York, 22 April (Argus) — A third temporary shipping channel has opened at the Port of Baltimore to allow more vessel traffic around the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge. Located on the northeast side of the main channel, the new passage has a controlling depth of 20-ft, a 300-ft horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 135-ft. When combined with two other temporary channels opened earlier this month the port should be able to handle "... approximately 15 percent of pre-collapse commercial activity," said David O'Connell, the federal on-scene coordinator. The main shipping channel of the Port of Baltimore — a key conduit for US vehicle imports and coal exports — is expected to be reopened by the end of May, the Maryland Port Administration said earlier this month. The bridge collapsed into the water late last month when the 116,851dwt container ship Dali lost power and crashed into one of its support columns. Salvage teams have been working ever since to remove debris from the water and containers from the ship in order to clear the main channel. By Stephen Cunningham Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Coal sales at Australia’s Whitehaven fall in Jan-Mar


19/04/24
News
19/04/24

Coal sales at Australia’s Whitehaven fall in Jan-Mar

Sydney, 19 April (Argus) — Australian coal miner Whitehaven reported higher production but lower sales in January-March, with the firm increasing its percentage of high-grade thermal coal sales from the previous quarter. Saleable coal volumes rose by 8pc on the year to 3.9mn t but managed coal sales fell by 7pc to 3.8mn t compared to a year earlier. Sales were 83pc high-grade thermal, higher than 72pc in October-December and 68pc a year earlier. Whitehaven said run-of-mine production at Narrabri was below expectations because of the current panel's geological challenges, leading to reliability and maintenance problems with equipment. Whitehaven's overall sales guidance for the 2023-24 fiscal year remains unchanged at 16mn-17.5mn t for 2023-24 with a unit cost guidance, excluding royalties, of A$103-113/t ($66-$72/t) which the firm said is tracking at the top end. This is because of lower output from Narrabri, which is tracking below its output guidance of 5.1mn-5.7mn t for the fiscal year to 30 June. Whitehaven finalised takeovers of Australian-Japanese joint venture BHP Mitsubishi Alliance's (BMA) 12mn t/yr Blackwater and 4mn t/yr Daunia coking and thermal coal mine in Queensland on 2 April, with initial sales and production data to be reported in its April-June production report. The two mines are anticipated to deliver 4.5mn-5mn t run-of-mine output in April-June, with Whitehaven's revenue breakdown to be 70pc metallurgical and 30pc thermal on an annual basis post-acquisition as it seeks to pivot toward coking coal. Blackwater and Daunia contributed 10.11mn t and 4mn t respectively to BMA's total output in 2023. Whitehaven plans to sell down a 20pc stake in Blackwater to global steel producers, with a process presently underway. Whitehaven views the high calorific value (CV) thermal coal market as well supported in its key Asian markets, and said tightening of sanctions on Russian exporters is containing global supply. India's continuing growth is driving demand and underpinning price sentiment, Whitehaven said, despite a softening in metallurgical coal prices during the quarter . The Argus high-grade 6,000 kcal/kg NAR price averaged $126.74/t fob Newcastle and the 5,500 kcal/kg NAR coal price $93.85/t during January-March, compared with $134.23/t and $96.80/t respectively for October-December. By Tom Major Whitehaven quarterly results Jan-Mar '24 Oct-Dec '23 Jan-Mar '23 Volumes (mn t) Managed coal production 3.9 4.2 3.6 Managed coal sales 3.8 4.7 4.1 Managed coal stocks at period end 1 1.5 1.5 Coal sales mix (%) High-grade thermal coal 83 72 68 Other thermal coal 8 19 26 Metallurgical coal 9 9 6 Prices achieved ($/t) 136 142 280 Thermal coal 136 142 280 Metallurgical coal 213 166 234 Source: Whitehaven Australian coal price comparisons ($/t) Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Australia’s Queensland legislates emissions targets


18/04/24
News
18/04/24

Australia’s Queensland legislates emissions targets

Sydney, 18 April (Argus) — Australia's Queensland state today approved two separate laws setting renewable energy and emissions reduction targets over the next decade, as it transitions away from a coal-fired dependent power generation system. Queensland set net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets of 30pc below 2005 levels by 2030, 75pc by 2035 and zero by 2050 under the Clean Economy Jobs Act, while theEnergy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Act sets renewable energy targets of 50pc by 2030, 70pc by 2032 and 80pc by 2035. The state is on track to surpass the 2030 emissions target, latest data show, as it achieved a 29pc reduction in 2021. Even though the share of renewables in the power mix last year was the lowest across Australia at 26.9pc, it has been increasing consistently since 2015 when it was 4.5pc, according to data from the National Electricity Market's OpenNem website. Coal-fired generation has been steadily falling, down to 42.9TWh or a 65.7pc share in 2023 from 52.9TWh or 83pc in 2018. Most of Queensland's coal-fired plants belong to state-owned utilities, which the previous Labor party-led government of Annastacia Palaszczuk indicated would stop burning coal by 2035 . The new Labor party premier Steven Miles disclosed the 75pc emissions reduction target by 2035 in his first speech as leader last December. The Energy Act locks in public ownership of electricity assets, ensuring that at least 54pc of power generation assets above 30MW remain under state control, as well as 100pc of all transmission and distribution assets and 100pc of so-called "deep storage" assets — pumped hydro plants with at least 1.5GW of capacity. The government will need to prepare and publish a public ownership strategy for the July 2025-June 2030 and July 2030-June 2035 periods. A fund totalling A$150mn ($97mn) will also be set up to ensure workers at existing state-owned coal-fired power plants and associated coal mines have access to new jobs and training or financial assistance during the transition. The Clean Economy Jobs Act sees the government receiving advice from an expert panel on the measures needed to reduce emissions. The government will need to develop and publish sector plans by the end of 2025 with annual progress reports to Queensland's parliament. By Juan Weik Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Q&A: Ramaco adding production, sees market growth


16/04/24
News
16/04/24

Q&A: Ramaco adding production, sees market growth

New York, 16 April (Argus) — Randall Atkins is a founder and chief executive of metallurgical coal producer Ramaco Resources. He also has been involved in energy-related investment and financing activity for over 40 years. In this Q&A, edited for length and clarity, he discusses effects from the Francis Scott Key bridge collapse, his outlook for coal and the company's research projects. What effect has the Key bridge collapse and Port of Baltimore closing had on Ramaco and the US coal industry in general? Like most things of that tragic nature, it is going to take longer than everyone expects to actually solve the problem. I think where it is going to impact producers probably more is on the rails. There will be a need for...producers to rearrange stockpiles and to rearrange where they are going to try and ship, even at reduced levels. Particularly, CSX is going to have an immense logistical complexity to deal with over the near-term. We do not ship from Baltimore. We have not seen any problems, knock on wood, with our rail shipments post the incident. What are your long-term projections for metallurgical coal given expectations that low-volatile coal reserves will shrink in coming decades and the steel industry could be in oversupply? Low vol coal has traditionally been the highest priced coal and the dearest, if you will. High vol A coal has over the last few years grown in importance, and to the extent that there is any new increase in production in the US, it's high vol. What we perceive is that there is going to be a crowding in the high vol space. As a result, our increase in production is primarily in low vol. As far as the demand side is concerned, we do not believe that blast furnace steel demand is going to decline anytime soon. There's a lot of noise from the green community that hydrogen is going to replace coal in blast furnaces. We took some advice on that from the IEA…and when that question was posed (to IEA), the answer that was given was it would take about $1.5 trillion to build a pilot plant using hydrogen by 2035 and probably about another equal or greater sum to build a commercial facility by 2040. So, I don't lose a lot of sleep on the demand for coal for blast furnaces. What I do see shifting, however, is the US has held relatively steady at about 20mn short tons (18.1mn metric tonnes) of met coal demand over the last 10 to 15 years. The growth is clearly overseas, and the growth is clearly at the moment in Asia. When we started back in 2017, and 2018 was really our first year of production, we predominantly sold coal domestically; I think 80pc of our coal went to US steel mills. Now that is almost reversed. We're going to sell probably this year, 70pc overseas, and about a third or less domestically. With Europe moving towards electric arc furnace technology and significant new blast furnace capacity coming online in Asia, what kind of role will the US play as a coal supplier over the coming years? It is cheaper to use a blast furnace than electric arc. And the steel that they (Asian companies) mostly require is the heavier steel for cars and buildings and things of that nature. So, they have a bias towards blast furnace capacity. The US and Europe are very developed economies that are trying to go and wean away from coal, (while) the rest of the world is aggressively moving further into coal. People will shake their heads at the cost that European and American consumers will start to have to pay for that privilege. We see market growth is still there, but it's a different kind of growth. It will be more in the Asian markets, predominantly some in Europe, some in South America and Africa. The low vol coal demand in Asia is extremely strong because while they are able to buy high vol product from Australia very inexpensively, they do not have the low vol production. They need that to blend up to get the proper mix in their blast furnaces. There is a very good future for low vol, and that is the direction we are positioning ourselves. How confident is Ramaco about securing its investments in the longer run given the emphasis on ESG? What I see is sort of a dichotomy. In the thermal coal business, there's not a lot of investment in new mining there for the obvious reason that their customer base is declining. On the met side, it is a bit shortsighted from an investment standpoint because of the composition of the ownership of met coal companies. Virtually every major metallurgical coal producer except for us went through bankruptcy and post-bankruptcy proceedings. Their board composition became essentially distressed debt investors...Their interest was not developing a long-term coal company. Strategically their vision was: "How can we most quickly get money back out of that coal company?" We are certainly the only coal company that is doubling in size. We produced a little under 4mn st last year. We will be at about 4.5mn st this year. We can maybe go higher, depending upon the market. The market is not strong right now. The other issue (for coal producers) even when they weren't doing special dividends, is they've now shifted to doing large-scale share buybacks. You are starting to see the cost curve increase for most domestic coal producers. What you haven't seen, but I think you will probably find over the next probably 18 to 24 months, is you will begin to see depletion kick in. The amount of coal that they are able to produce from their existing operation will begin to decline. And that is strictly a result of not investing in new mine production. My approach was to kind of be a little bit of an outlier and then approach coal to products as an alternative use, certainly for thermal coal. And that, of course, brought us to rare earth (mineral extraction). Do you have funding for Ramaco's rare earth materials projects? Let me step back one step. We introduced the idea that we actually had rare earth (deposits) in May 2023….When we sent the samples to be tested, they tested them as if they were hard minerals. In other words, they did not combust off the organic material. What we have done since then, is we went back and we had samples that were probably 200-300 parts per million. From a commercial standpoint, we have kind of crossed the Rubicon that this is indeed sufficiently concentrated that it makes commercial sense. Now what we are doing is we are going through a process of further chemical analysis and testing to determine what is the best extraction and refinement technique. And the last point you raised was financing. We have a very nice growing mining metallurgical business, which can provide the funding to do whatever we want to do on rare earth. I am not too concerned about our financing capability. Any updates on your coal-to-carbon product projects ? We have looked at a number of different things with the national labs. We started looking at carbon fiber, which could be made from coal and we have got some patents around some very interesting processes. The areas that we are now focusing on...are using coal to make synthetic graphite. The other thing we are working on is using coal for direct air capture. We are considering going into a pilot phase sometime starting later this year with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a synthetic graphite plant. As far as direct air capture, we probably have more work to do. We are also working on that with Oak Ridge. But I would hope that sometime by 2025, certainly 2026, we would perhaps have our first product, quote unquote, to be able to offer into the market. And it would be delightful if it was synthetic graphite. By Elena Vasilyeva Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more