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Overtonnaging has been a concern the markets for some time as the world fleet continues to expand and the glut of newbuildings needs to be absorbed. However, according to Fearnleys' weekly market bulletin, VLCC rates have improved with fewer vessels available in the Middle East Gulf area. However suexmax rates continue to be negatively affected by the amount of tonnage available.

There was some good news for capesize operators in the dry bulk sector according to Fearnleys, who said that while rates were at an historic low, transatlantic coal trades and Brazil to China iron ore trades had pushed spot market levels up by 50%.

May has seen the launch of a joint venture between shipping consultants Drewry and the Cleartrade Exchange. The World Container Index can be used by physical and derivative market players to manage freight risk.

June 8 will see the launch of Baltex, the Baltic Exchange's multilateral trading facility for dry freight derivatives. It remains to be seen what level of activity there will be with the new screen.

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