How to identify and pick the best market cargoes?

November 3, 2021
Arto Viitanen

The cornerstones of an efficient fleet schedule on a high level are: 

  1. Plan your COA cargoes and fixed spot cargoes in the most cost-efficient way for your fleet
  2. Identify and bid for the spot cargoes that best fit your current schedule plan and price the bids accordingly
  3. Relet the least profitable cargoes to better-positioned shipowners

Today I’ll be focusing on the 2nd point. What’s the process and what are the aspects to consider when identifying the cargoes that fit your fleet schedule the best?

  1. To set the stage, plan all your COA and fixed spot cargoes onto the fleet
  2. Observe all the gaps in the schedule, see if there are any cargoes on the market that would fit the gap in terms of duration/port proximity/cargo fit 
  3. Plan the most potential “patch” market cargoes into those gaps in your fleet schedule as placeholders
  4. Check the vessels’ cumulative open positions in different regions and different vessel categories; identify the regions where you want to decrease or increase the number of vessels
  5. Start by checking if you can find any cargoes that are loading in a region where you’re looking to decrease the number of open vessels, plan them in as placeholders 
  6. Repeat the step for different regions where you’re looking to decrease the vessel count
  7. Continue into other regions, prefer cargoes with short pre-voyage ballast distances
  8. Observe the new projected open position vessel count in regions, swap some placeholder cargoes to adjust the regional balance if it feels off
  9. Now you have your target scenario, where you can identify the best combination of cargoes to bid for
  10. Repeat these steps using a different set of cargoes to create at least a couple of different versions (scenarios) of the schedule, these are your plan B’s and C’s

How could Seaber help with the process?

Seaber allows you to play around with potential cargoes as a part of the scenario tools we provide. You can evaluate and compare different scenarios even without final freight, by doing ‘average cost per ton mile’ comparison for example. We also provide an automatic up-to-date regional balance count of cumulative open positions, which allows you to keep an eye on the geographical center of gravity and avoid inevitable long haul ballast voyages.

If you’ve connected Seaber to some market cargo source, such as AXS marine. We can automatically short-list the top 5 best-suited market cargo alternatives for

  1. Voyages to fill the gaps in the schedule as described in steps 1 & 2 
  2. Next voyages for all the open positions

The ‘best suited’ analysis can be performed based on forecasted TCE: anticipated freight, total bunker and port cost calculations. The geographical fleet distribution implications can be taken into account in the form of target vessel count per region or forecasted post-voyage ballast distance based on previous years’ cargo frequency in regions.

How is this done at your company currently?

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