Weight of Freight: Dry bulk insights with Pacific Rim’s Kelle Horn

Author Argus

This episode takes a deep dive into the minor bulk trade in the Americas, and touches on the shifting global grain trade including Asia-Pacific’s increasing focus on South American grains over US Gulf coast and west coast North American suppliers.

Shipbroking firm Pacific Rim’s Kelle Horn speaks with Argus dry bulk freight reporter Ross Griffith about everything you ever wanted to know about the minor bulk trade in 2022, but were too afraid to ask.

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Ross: So, today I'm speaking with Kelle Horn from Pacific Rim Shipbrokers. And hello, Kelle.

Kelle: Hi, Ross. It's great to be here.

Ross: Yeah, I'm happy to speak with you today. I was hoping you could give us a little background about your experience in the shipping industry.

Kelle: Absolutely. So, my name is Kelle Horn, I'm with Pacific Rim Shipbrokers. We're a dry bulk ship brokerage out in the Pacific Northwest in the Seattle area. We're on a small island called Bainbridge. The company was started in 1984 and we purchased it from the original owners in 2016. Two other employees and I really loved what we did, we loved working together, and we decided just because they were retiring, we didn't really want Pac Rim to stop.

And just sort of anecdotally, we're the only all-women option brokerage firm in the United States as far as we know, especially within dry bulk. So, that's a little caveat there. And then we also do some work with the government where we actually do charter vessels, but primarily our bread and butter is in dry bulk and in the brokerage of the minor bulk geared vessels primarily although we do have some odd Panamax business as well. And I've been in the industry since 2001, so seen real big highs and lows. And one of the greatest things about dry bulk and shipping in general is it's never dull.

Ross: I would second that. Can you explain a little bit about minor bulk versus major bulk, and what exactly those terms mean?

Kelle: Sure, so the minor bulks tend to be everything outside of grain, coal, and iron ore. The major bulks are those three, and they tend to be on the larger vessels where you're seeing the Capes, Babycapes, and Kamsarmaxes and Panamaxes as well. But the major bulks, they are a very unique industry, especially I would say iron ore, in particular, where they have fewer ports that they're calling, very large vessels can only go in and out of certain ports. And although it does, especially the Capes, pull our indices, which is called the BDI or the Baltic Dry Index, it pulls our indexes around but really minor bulks, everything else that you can imagine from lentils to scrap metal are the day-in, day-out sort of venerable cargoes that are pushed around the planet and go into almost everything that we use.

Ross: Certainly. You mentioned geared bulkers in there, what exactly differentiates a geared vessel?

Kelle: Right, so when you're looking at a vessel, if you happen to notice one in a port near you, you might see one that's very flat and long and the house as we call it where the crew stays in the back, and there's nothing else in there. There's big holds that open up, hatches that open up, and the cargo is poured in using on-the-shore equipment. And a geared vessel, you would see the same sort of shape of the vessel but it will have cranes on it. Typically four cranes or more, and depending on the size of the vessel, they'll go down to two.

And those cranes are able to assist in the loading and discharging of the cargo. They aren't always used but that's where it's really beneficial for those smaller ports or ports that don't have the infrastructure or the pier to discharge and load cargo. So, you might put a big clamshell on and you're scooping out grain and putting it directly into trucks, or you're putting a big shovel on it to load scrap metal off of the deck.

Ross: Okay. Now I understand starting in 2021, there was a connection between containership markets and specifically geared bulkers. I was curious if you could speak a little bit about that.

Kelle: Sure, that was a very, very unusual situation. Typically, bulkers in almost all the contracts will say specifically no containers or maybe they might allow on a special occasion a couple of containers on deck after the bulk cargo is loaded. Well, when containers got up to $25,000-$30,000 a container, suddenly, bulkers and the fact that they have gear and they could load said containers became a viable option for those looking to get their containerized cargo. It is not without some complications. All of those owners who did decide that they would try and break into that market had to have Class all kinds of things to happen to make sure the stability in the vessel could be maintained.

But those cranes proved quite important in being able to load and discharge the containers when they were going into the ports because a typical container crane was not going to be as easily manipulated into the smaller ships and non-container vessels or Panamaxes. And that was a real goldmine for a lot of minor bulkers when maybe not necessarily as much steel or scrap or iron ore or other things that are used in the manufacturing of steels when China really slowed down, this ability to pivot and be able to load containers really provided quite a windfall for a lot of the minor bulkers.

Ross: Now, I understand that recently, this has kind of disappeared from the market, these spillover cargoes, I believe with port congestion in China kind of clearing up. Would you agree that that's kind of finished now, or do you expect that that might happen again in the future?

Kelle: I think it's finished now for two reasons. One, because the congestion is often containerships are once again having a deep discount to their rates for the containers. The only ones you'll see are the ones that are contractually obligated. We are still seeing tugs, especially coming into the U.S. West Coast from Asia into Everett and LA and Long Beach, but they're pretty few and far between. And the other reason I would say we probably won't see it in the future is one thing that we always look at is the order book. So, we're always looking at the horizon to see how many new ships are coming in in whatever sector.

And for the foreseeable future, the main glut coming out of the shipyards are container ships. So, we don't see this supply and demand issue being in play again in the near future. However, nobody saw COVID and saw the port congestion coming. Maybe perhaps with zero COVID policy or something else similar to this came up, we would see that kind of pressure on the container market again but they are definitely upending their supply issues that they had by having all these new builds moving out.

Ross: Certainly. Now kind of switching over to what's going on around the world and, of course, geopolitical tensions are high with the conflict in Ukraine and one of the big stories for dry bulk has been the shifts in ton-mile demand. And I'm curious with minor bulk if you've seen any impacts from the conflict in Ukraine.

Kelle: Initially, yes. I would say almost immediately, we were seeing a lot of strange routes coming up and popping up. So, for example, we have a client who produces soda ash in Bulgaria and they were suddenly needing to move coal from Columbia. And what would that look like and what would the rates be, and trying to plan forward because they needed it to run their factories. We also had some interesting inquiries for Agri pods going into Kazakhstan. So, that was creating a real issue because of all the intermodal. They were considering going into the Black Sea if we can get it an owner to go there, or into China.

So, I would say what we saw was very little cargo going into West Africa, a lot of fertilizers and grains out of Ukraine and Russia go into West Africa and it's a very different route than we had seen previously coming out of the Americas. Because of the time of year that the conflict began, that wasn't really affecting the U.S. agricultural market as much being in the spring, right, because our seasons happened later. Definitely, we were seeing more cargoes moving out of the east coast of South America and that grains into West Africa and Asia where maybe prior they would have been purchasing out of the Black Sea. We also saw where minor bulkers who were willing to go there were making three times the market value of the vessel.

Ross: Oh, is that right?

Kelle: Yes. Actually, I would say that's just recently backed off. So, let's say a Supermax that's open in the East Mediterranean is worth $17,000 a day on the market and willing to call to the Black Sea, they would be seeing $35,000 to $40,000 a day for that same vessel.

Ross: Wow, that's an impressive jump.

Kelle: Yes. So, those willing and their clubs and insurers were willing to allow them to do that were able to benefit from that situation. But there were many owners that have initially said and continue to say, "No, we're not going to call the Black Sea for now."

Ross: Yeah, I can understand with insurance concerns, it's an extremely difficult situation.

Kelle: Now that it's opened up a little bit and more ships have come in and out, that appetite for that risk is growing.

Ross: Well, initially with grain, one of my questions for you was if the U.S. go for...and this is a more recent situation with the Mississippi River, the low water levels, which is delaying grain cargoes from being able to make it downriver. The very first, I'm curious what effects you've seen from the barge delays on the Mississippi.

Kelle: Sure, so a lot of these grain cargoes especially on the larger vessels like Panamaxes or Kamsarmaxes, those are obviously aways, as well as many others in the minor sizes, and the supras and the ultras are moving down to the handies. So, the risk is really on the new ship owner and the terminal in those cases. We saw a lot of force majeure hits, so that's, you know, a lever within all contracts that there's things that are out of your control to basically say, "We can't perform."

Either the suppliers say they can't perform or the charters who charter the boats say they can't perform because the grains can't get there. Or what likely, and I think more of what we saw is a commercial understanding began to happen after all the force majeure started being called. So, there is still cargo moving, it's moving a lot more slowly and the barges are sshort loaded. So, that's really on the grain houses who are going to be absorbing most of those costs.

And the vessel owners who are sitting there, if force majeure is called and they've been sitting there, let's say, 10 days waiting for cargo, the charterers can say that, "This is out of our control and we're not going to pay the demurrage for the vessel sitting there." So, I think that probably some lawyers are gonna make some money off of this but I do think there was a little bit of hysteria initially and it seems like it's calmed down, which tells me that a lot of commercial decisions were made and negotiated behind the scenes to help everybody gets through this. And the grains are coming in and I think it's improving as well on the river.

Ross: Interesting.

Kelle: However, that did push the Chinese and other Asian countries more towards east coast South America as a supplier, and that's true with the Black Sea as well because they're looking for more stability and reliability. So, the issues that we had with the river and congestion and the issues with the conflict in the Black Sea, that has...and what really started with the Trump era trade wars, sort of push those relationships down to South America out of Asia. So, I would say, you know, as much as they can produce, Asia is willing to purchase. It's been a more stable market for those receivers and suppliers.

Ross: So, what is it about stability versus the quality of the grain and what the buyer specifically is looking for? Why is that favored specifically?

Kelle: Well, the quality will always come into play, especially with soybeans, with the beans market and the protein. Well, all Ag products, there's protein levels, there's all kinds of things that folks are looking for when they're milling or crushing. The Argentinians and the Brazilians have come a long way in improving all of those levels, so they are getting closer and closer to Black Sea and U.S. Gulf levels of quality. And every time something like this, some disruption happens, as you all know as people in these industries, it takes a long time to build a relationship between the supplier and the receiver.

And it takes very little time to kind of unspool those relationships, unfortunately. And once they start purchasing from someone else and have a relationship that they're developing with another country or entity or supplier, it's really hard to claw that back. Now, there are things that are very specific and you can only get out of certain markets because it's grown in certain places. Ag is unique in that way, but I would say if the protein levels are close, if the quality is close, and it's a lot more reliable and less expensive, both in the commodity as well as the freight and obviously the receivers, the buyers are going to head that direction, which for the last few years has definitely been South America, East Coast South America.

Ross: Interesting. One of the commodities I've seen that has really exploded in comparison to past exports out of Brazil has been unmilled rice to Mexico. I was curious if you had heard about this. I believe there was a situation where the Mexican government had waived some kind of import tariffs and this allowed Mexican importers to switch from U.S. Gulf rice to Brazilian and Argentinian as well, and I think the numbers are just astronomically higher than what in the past these countries had exported. I'm curious if you think we'll see more of Argentina and more of Brazil kind of branching out into other markets and taking more market share in the future.

Kelle: Definitely believe that's the intention and they have the ability to grow all these crops. So, I'm not as familiar with the milled rice, just a full disclosure, although I have moved cargoes of rice for years out of the U.S. Gulf into Mexico. And I will say that we've seen people try and have it makes sense to even, prior to the conflict, bring in grains from the Black Sea because the grains themselves are less expensive but the freight kills it. And I would imagine that at some point, that would be the same case with the milled price into Mexico.
There's a three-day duration from the Mississippi River into Veracruz or Tampico, the places...you know, three or four days where those receivers are, so perhaps they are...in order to get in, perhaps they're coming up with a good sale on their milled rice coming in. But I don't see any reason why Argentina and Brazil would not be trying to break into additional agricultural markets. They started really strongly with soybeans and corn and now milled rice, so it makes sense to me that they would try. For some of those markets, it would be...I would say coming back into Mexico, that kind of surprises me. Going to Asia, it would make sense. But now that they're really purchasing a lot of milled rice, it's mostly for the Americans. So, yeah, that's an interesting development.

Ross: Yeah, I was surprised to see...I never considered that Mexico has a lot of rice mills apparently, so that's an interesting aspect to it.

Kelle: Well, they also import a lot of corn for...not for tortillas because they use their domestic corn and they are a big exporter of white corn out of Mexico, especially west coast Mexico, and they import yellow corn from the States primarily for industrial baking, for Corona beer, for industrial starch. So, they bring in a lot of corn and rice out of the states but they're used in different ways, but they are a big miller, for sure.

Ross: Interesting, interesting. Yeah, I never knew this grain industry specifically was a big part of one of my favorite beers, so that's exciting.

Kelle: Yeah, there you go. Right. So, make sure you drink that Corona just because that's U.S. corn going down there.

Ross: Exciting stuff!. Now with the Panama Canal, I know that recently the wait times for Neopanamax logs have really jumped up. But I'm curious if you've seen this affecting the Kamsarmax market, the larger Panamax, maybe carrying grain out of the U.S. Gulf?

Kelle: Yeah, I don't know if it would definitely...some of this stuff is a little bit more slow-moving. I don't think it's so much about demand but more about how owners would be contemplating forwarding spot cargoes and how they would be rated. So, as much as we try to look in the crystal ball, constantly we are looking at forward rates. And that means if someone says, "Okay, I need cargoes of a Kamsarmax of corn out of the U.S. Gulf into Asia," into Japan, let's say, what would that rate be? So, you look at what's happening now and you look at what's happening typically and seeing any kinds of delays in the Panama Canal, I would say everyone, at minimum, always adds three days on either side of the canal.

And when you see something like 14, 10, all these other days or having an auction for a slip, then you're going to increase that, especially for anything that's happening in the fourth quarter...or the first quarter of 2023 and definitely for spot. So, I don't know, maybe it would change demand, make it too expensive and then the receivers would pivot to East Coast South America, but most the stems (cargoes) that are moving are on long-term contracts, so it's just a risk that is borne by the owner and then thought about after they've felt that pain the next time they go to rate the business, if that makes sense.

Ross: Absolutely. Well, with the extended wait times for the U.S. gulf and then the fees to use the canal in the first place, what would motivate let's say an Asia Pacific buyer of grain to choose the U.S. gulf over the North Pacific, maybe, you know, closer to your office there?

Kelle: Typically, the commodity is less expensive coming out of the Gulf. Also, for the grains, primarily the wheat that comes out of the NOPAC (north Pacific) is a completely different kind of wheat. It's soft or hard white, and that is preferred in milling the Asian products, noodles and lighter pastries and things that need a lighter color. And the rail to get it...even though the PNW (Pacific northwest) is notorious, the Columbia river, for being very very extensive, which it is, the rail to get it in the commodity coming this direction from where that's grown, which is primarily in the PNW and maybe out to Idaho-ish.

It's a specialized cargo, so that's always coming out of here, it doesn't make any sense to send it into the Gulf. The Gulf also...we still do have quite excellent agricultural products and the wheat that's coming out of the U.S. gulf is still desired around the planet. So, it's not like it's going to be replaced anytime soon. Usually, the cost that people are looking at, it's more about the type that's coming out of the PNW. However, we have seen some rail disruption because of the barging issue in the Mississippi where some Ag is being railed to NOPAC to have it come out of here.

And I haven't seen a lot of it, I think those were more initial urgent demands. It seems like it's been tapered off but I know that our rail for copper concentrates and soda ash were delayed due to the rail companies because the Ag people were willing to pay a higher price to move their cargo that they couldn't get onto barges via rail and into the NOPAC.

Ross: Interesting.

Kelle: Or down into Texas and different ports in New Orleans, Louisiana that they couldn’t do on barges. So, it was a scramble to try and get the goods. The other thing that you have to remember too when there's kind of delays with the agricultural products, they get mold, they only have a certain amount of shelf life, and they have to, you know, move or get them off of barges into the rail and etc. before, it was a total loss.

But traditionally in a normal market, the U.S. Gulf have the hard red or hard winter, it's coming through there, and then the NOPAC is the white wheat. And it's a little bit more...we can get really in the weeds but that's sort of a simple way to look at it. And then, certainly, soya beans come out through here too, so the soya beans that are grown in North Dakota are coming through here through the Pacific Northwest versus through the Gulf, and that's just intermodal cost savings.

Ross: I want go back just a little bit to what you talked about with the U.S. grains out of NOPAC or the North Pacific. I remember seeing a few fixtures maybe a couple of weeks ago that I think were exactly that, they were listed as North Pacific fixtures for U.S. Gulf grain and I couldn't really wrap my head around that, but I think I've got a clearer picture now.

Kelle: Yeah, exactly.

Ross: Very good.

Kelle: Yeah.

Ross: Well, we've spoken quite a bit about grain. I'm curious with the minor bulks, if you've seen any changes in thermal fuels instead of something like maybe petcoke.

Kelle: Yeah, we've seen a big increase off of...especially off the U.S. west coast into the Asia markets in petcoke. I would say I'd be interested to run a report to see just how much but it feels like that is a consistently growing market and I think that there was a lot of petcoke that wasn't…, due to the conflict but it's being absorbed out of the west coast by Asia. So, they are looking for other markets of petcoke for their industries and their factories. That's what we're...and a lot going into India out of the U.S. Gulf as well. That would be on...a lot of Ultras are carrying petcoke to India, and Panamaxes as well and I would say it's primarily handy/supra/ultras off the west coast taking petcoke into Asia, but we see the increase in that.

Ross: Interesting. And these Panamaxes, are these the special geared Panamaxes I heard about or just regular Panamaxes?

Kelle: No, mostly just regular Panamaxes. It just depends on ultimately the receiving port and what they can do. And geared Panamaxes are almost a little bit of a unicorn now. They were sort of in favor but I would say no one has been building those consistently for a while, so they tend to be older tonnage and unusual. So, they were probably built and spec’ed for specific projects at the time, and then had been sold in the second-hand trade and are traded, but they are usually kind of a project boat.

Ross: Sure, sure. I like that idea of a unicorn Panamax, you know, it's interesting when you see one.

Kelle: Yeah, every once in a while, someone will say, "We need geared Panamaxes,” like, you need to rethink your programs because they're very hard to find. But the Ultramaxes just keep getting bigger. I think there's a lot of 66,000 t deadweight Ultramaxes out there now that can't go through the old (Panama) locks. But also, you know, we were talking about Panama, obviously, it doesn't make a lot of sense for like grain going to Asia, but we were looking at steels out of East Coast Brazil into the West Coast of the U.S.

And wherever and whenever, right now, you can just go around the horn, go around Cape Horn instead of dealing with the Panama Canal, it can actually be economical because daily higher rates have come off probably 40% and fuel bunkers are down as well. So, it's starting to have that math problem of Panama Canal, the fees to go through, the delays there versus going around, and a lot of times, it's making more sense to go around. That's probably the other way people are contemplating.

Same thing with the Suez that happened. It's really just an algebra equation to figure out which way is best. And especially now that...for a while there, ships were trading in the $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 a day, it wouldn't make sense...and when bunker scored at $1,000 per metric ton for very low sulfur fuel oil. But now that's all come off, so it's once again looking at sailing around.

Ross: Absolutely. Yeah, I saw some of that with Capesize fronthauls going through Suez where that long voyage around actually ends up with a lower dollar a ton, you know, rate. So, pretty interesting stuff. I imagine there are situations where someone needs something just as soon as possible, whatever the cost, which would have them still running through the canals, but yeah, it makes sense. Now with the Brazilian steel, that's pretty interesting and it sounds like it's something that you folks really look at. Have you noticed any changes in that market? I know that Chinese steelmaking has really dropped off. Has that been the same for these Brazilian steel cargoes?

Kelle: Yes, I would say for us, our importer is...you know, they are buying it and then doing some manufacturing to it and the domestic demand was down, so they weren't bringing it in as frequently as they hoped, and then tariffs come into play. There's a lot of different things. But I do see the slabs market out of Brazil consistently being circulated, so it seems to be robust. I've noticed that it's come off.

Ross: Coming out of Brazil, who's picking up these cargoes?

Kelle: That's a great question. I only know of my clients but definitely, I can circle back with you.

Ross: Oh, absolutely.

Kelle: I would imagine if I were to go look at the orders, I'm sure a lot of it is going into Europe outside of Brazil.

Ross: That would make sense, huh?

Kelle: Yeah, yeah, but I was really focused on what was coming into America. And also, there's steels that come out of West Coast Mexico, so, you know, they get it in some form and then some sort of milling or manufacturing that's happened to it and it's being exported or used domestically. So, it's not...it's maybe putting it into taking slabs and making it into rebar, you know? And actually, quite a bit of steel slabs moves out of West Coast Mexico into the Gulf. That's a really consistent player as well, but those would all be small, minor focus, small stints of 30,000 t steel slabs.

Ross: Absolutely. Would this be Handy-size cargoes? Handymax?

Kelle: Yeah. And I would say out of Brazil, that would be the supermassive Ultramaxes.

Ross: Gotcha.

Kelle: They're definitely geared. You'd have to have geared vessels to load and discharge the steel.

Ross: Yeah, I've seen some interesting things. I don't know too much...and this is getting into minor bulks, this might be a minor-minor bulk, but like the logs and wood logs. I've seen some very interesting YouTube videos of supermaxes, maybe handymaxes loading logs straight off, you know, the side of the port there and they build up kind of a trellis around the outside of it. There's a word for it and I can't remember where they can actually stack it up on the deck itself with these cables, kind of forming an additional cargo hold once the holds are filled.

Kelle: Yeah, watching the logs being loaded is a pretty traumatic experience, logs and scraps are probably the two. And prior to working at Pacific Rim Shipbrokers, I worked for a company called San Juan Navigation and I was a commercial vessel operator, so I got to go attend all those fun loadings. So, yeah, so logs, it is dramatic and I'm so glad for those YouTube videos, it's pretty amazing puzzles that they do. It's sold as a lump sum cargo and I definitely wouldn't want to cross the North Pacific on one of those ships because I have a feeling it'd be pretty rough. But they do it all the time on those and you definitely need a geared vessel for that as well.

Ross: It's fascinating to think about a ship that small in comparison to these larger Kamsarmaxes, the Capesizes, crossing the ocean, you know, it's a little terrifying but...

Kelle: Yeah, and when you see the big ones being tossed around...

Ross: Absolutely.

Kelle: But we have noticed an uptick of...so, one sign, I mean, everybody is waiting for China, right, to turn the lights back on essentially for the minor and the majors. So, the iron ore that would go in back into the major bulkers and the steel production, this is going to be the thing that everybody is really watching with China. Because they're always going to be bringing in ag and they're trying to develop their own ag, but the steel production is really what pushes a dry bulk around, whether it's the coal for the factories, whether it's the scrap and the iron ore to build the steel, it's really a major component of what supports the entire market.

So, I think everyone is assuming still continued contraction or just a flat market out of China, at least through the Chinese New Yyear, which is earlier this year, which is good, and maybe some relaxing of the zero COVID policies. So, I think everyone is waiting till post-Chinese New Year to really see what's gonna happen there with, like, fingers crossed behind their backs that it will loosen up the COVID policies and start pulling up the housing market there and the overall infrastructure so that the demand for steel and the products that go into making it increase in China by the second quarter of next year. But I think it's not going to be as what we saw before but I think that's what everybody is hoping to see.

Ross: Sure, if you attend these various panels, these conferences in the dry bulk industry, it felt like each quarter, you could hear the ship owners kind of talking about China as if wistfully, "You know, I imagine any week now, you know, they'll turn that faucet back on." But it's been slow, you know, after the COVID restrictions and slow opening back up these steel factories.

Kelle: Absolutely. I will say if you want to find optimists for that next quarter is going to be better, you definitely need to call a ship owner, it is always gonna be better next quarter.

Ross: Yeah, I like that. Eternal optimist, it's a great way to be. Very good. So, we talked a little bit about some of these different minor bulks, some grains, some thermal fuel. I was curious if you had any kind of last thoughts or if there was anything you wanted the chance to share during this time.

Kelle: Maybe the last bit about China. Well, actually, I do know what I'd like to share. And this may be getting a little bit too inside- baseball, but a good indicator of things returning to a little bit of a normal market, which in some ways is better for everyone because all parties can anticipate what they're going to be paying and what things are costing. When we had the COVID restrictions and the flip-flop of the markets for containerized vessels and suddenly, the Pacific was so expensive and the market to be at and nobody wanted to be in the Atlantic.

So, basically, the fronthaul became the backhaul and the backhaul became the fronthaul and then everything was a fronthaul. Everything was expensive no matter what direction you are going, there was no discount. We have really seen that...it didn't flip back immediately but it is definitely back to a more normal, reliable market in the idea that you will ballast a dry bulk ship from the Far East to the west coast to get cargo and you'll absorb that cost, and then the west coast of all the Americas is a fronthaul and we're seeing it now. Where before, when we were contemplating that business, you would think of taking your vessel from the West Coast that's already here and that's not happening anymore.

Everything was expensive no matter what direction you are going, there was no discount. We have really seen that...it didn't flip back immediately but it is definitely back to a more normal, reliable market in the idea that you will ballast a dry bulk ship from the Far East to the west coast to get cargo and you'll absorb that cost, and then the west coast of all the Americas is a fronthaul and we're seeing it now. Where before, when we were contemplating that business, you would think of taking your vessel from the West Coast that's already here and that's not happening anymore.

Ross: Interesting.

Kelle: So, I would say that bodes well for the commodity players as well as the owners to have a little bit more stability. I mean, everyone wants some volatility in the market but when it's that difficult when your clients...you know, when our grain clients who import into the Philippines are paying six times they ever have for their wheat and three times for freight, it's untenable at a certain point. So, having things calmed down a bit and becoming more predictable, I think it will be great for everybody, you know at the kitchen table as well or when you go to buy a piece of furniture or a car.

Ross: Yeah, I imagine there's, I want to say maybe billions of people who are hoping for the same right now for things to calm down a little bit, you know?

Kelle: Yeah, exactly. Dry bulk is the canary in the coal mine, especially minor bulks because we see things happening before they roll out and, you know, the canary is still singing. And I think it's like just more calm now, so that will bode well for everyone.

Ross: Absolutely. Well, I want to thank you again very much, Kelle, thanks for talking with me today. I feel like I've learned a lot in the last 30 minutes or so here.

Kelle: I really appreciate the opportunity, Ross. It's been a real pleasure.

Ross: Thank you again. Take care.

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