EghtesadOnline: Hot- and cold-rolled coil import prices in Iran were largely unchanged in the week ending Nov. 22 on limited buying activity.
Customers were held back by the lack of vessels at the Russian port of Astrakhan in October, which pushed up the cost of freight to Iran’s northern port of Anzali from $20 per ton to almost $50 per ton.
The lack of vessels was earlier explained by higher grain shipments from Russia to Iran. However, shipping companies have now said the shortage was due to vessels being moved from Caspian Sea to Black Sea basin, according to Financial Tribune.
In winter, access to the Black Sea market will be blocked due to the freezing of the Volga-Don Canal, Metal Bulletin reported.
“Traders are now trying to deliver the material [from Astrakhan] they booked in September, but few managed to get a vessel,” one trader said. “The situation [with lack of vessels] is likely to last until April, when the canal will start operating again.”
Under the circumstances, the cost of freight from Kazakhstan’s Aktau Port also increased from the traditional $15 per ton to $25-30 per ton.
But considering that local producer ArcelorMittal Temirtau usually holds stocks of HRC and CRC at the port and that deliveries from Aktau to Anzali take about two days, Kazakhstan-origin material is now preferred in Iran.