Freight is always a point of concern and attraction for charterers, ship owners, traders, and brokers. This is also mainly guided by supply and demand and coupled with other major factors like route, weather, bunker prices, and consumptions. Freight cover varies from short-term spot and contracts of affreightment to long-term time charters with re-letting period deals and options. The dry bulk market includes iron ore, coal, grains, steel, cement, forest products, agricultural products, non-ferrous minerals, and metals, collectively amounting to more than 2.6 billion tons
of cargo annually. Iron ore, coal, and grain are the largest contributors, accounting for more than half of the trade between them.
Iron ore is shipped in Capesize vessels (over 100,000 dwt) in the main, the principal trades being from Brazil, Australia and India and to a smaller extent South Africa. The traditional exporting countries for coal are Australia, South Africa, Colombia, the USA, China and Russia, though in
recent years Indonesia has become the biggest supplier. Coal is shipped mainly in Panamax vessels (60,000-100,000dwt) but in the case of the Baltic and the Black Sea, due to drought restrictions in ports, in Handymax (40,000-60,000dwt) or Handysize (10,000-40,000dwt).