Uncertainty in grain trades

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Shipowners are seeing mixed signals on the grain trades with the existing agreement, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July last year and renewed in November, is due to run until 18 March. An extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) is by no means certain as Russia has indicated that it wants restrictions on its own grain exports to be lifted for the BSGI to be extended. Also, the end of China’s long-drawn-out lockdown has stimulated demand for grain restocking, brokers report, and South America’s grain harvests are exceeding expectations. Meanwhile, buyers are lining up for relatively cheap Russian produce and there are unsold stocks of grain in the US.  The fleet of smaller bulkers most frequently deployed in the shipment of grain cargoes consists of many older ships. These are expected to fare badly under the IMO’s new carbon regulations, in place since 1 January. Many are expected to use engine power limitation, reducing ship speed, as a compliance strategy, but a significant number of older ships are thought likely to be phased out.

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