Markets - Slow week with softening rates

Nov 08 2019

The VLCC market has been surprisingly slow this week, with only the odd cargo being drip-fed into the market with all areas correspondingly inactive.

As a consequence, rates have dropped, albeit less than previous similarly quiet spells. The latest benchmark stood at WS85 for MEG/China on modern tonnage, an oil company relet, Fearnleys said in its weekly report. 

The third decade MEG November programme has hardly been touched, so optimism persists within the owning community that  another 35-40 cargoes were still to be covered.

The position list still appears balanced, although widened in the last few days, when it comes to modern tonnage. There is an oversupply of restricted ship, old and/or ex drydockings, etc, hanging like a cloud over the market, if workable.

As for Suezmaxes, in the Atlantic, all markets took a dive this week.

Rates in West Africa softened in large volumes, as the position list had been building up for a while and cargo activity did not pick up.

USG exports were still quite slow and the only area with decent activity was Med and Black Sea but not enough to prevent the decline.

In the East, it was the same story with a long tonnage list, and not enough cargoes. Fearnleys expected the market to be close to the bottom soon, but it will take some time to turn this situation around.

Turning to Aframaxes, in the North Sea and Baltic market, rates fell by even more than last week’s levels, and rates are expected to soften further in the week to come.

This is mainly due to a lack of cargo activity, and that most of the cargoes that are available have been covered on relets. The number of available vessels is building up, and even if activity increases, it will take some time for the market to gain a firm momentum again.

In the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the tonnage list was still long, and activity in the past week was insufficient to have any positive effect on rates. TD19 is currently trading sub-WS100 levels.

Although some delays were seen in the Turkish Straits, this has still not had a positive impact on freight levels just yet, and we expect the market remain soft in the week to come, Fearnleys concluded.

There was very little crude period activity this week, Alibra Shipping said, adding that in the clean sector, 12 month MR rates were averaging around $16,500 per day.

Among the fixtures on recent brokers’ reports were a Suezmax and an LR1 taken by Koch. These were the 2011-built ‘Mare Siculum’ fixed for 12 months at $35,000 per day and the 2010-built ‘Athiri’ taken for 12 months at $20,500 per day.

Trafigura reported entered the market and picked up the 2019-built Aframax ‘Spetses Lady’ for two years for $28,500 per day and a newbuilding MR for two years at $17,250 per day.

In the newbuilding sector, Samos was believed to have ordered a Suezmax and an Aframax at JMU and Sumitomo, respectively for 2021 deliveries.

Sentek was said to have contracted two plus two Suezmaxes at New Times for $56 mill each They will be scrubber fitted and are also scheduled for delivery in 2021.

Turkish interests were also thought to have ordered two Suezmaxes at Daehan for 2022 deliveries.

Meanwhile Terntank has ordered two, option two, 15,000 dwt liquefied biogas (LBG)/LNG-powered tankers with hybrid battery systems and onshore power from the AVIC Dingheng Shipbuilding.

Designed by Kongsberg, the chemical/product/biofuel tankers will operate in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea when delivered in 2021.

In the S&P segment, the scrubber fitted VLCC ‘Ghillie’, ordered by Hartree Maritime at Daewoo, has been sold to Hahn & Co for $103 mill.

The sale also includes a five-year charter to Hyundai Oil for $45,000 per day, brokers reported. 

Great Eastern was said to have picked up the two 2005-built Suezmaxes ‘Cape Bari’ and ‘Cape Bastia’ for $23 mill each while undisclosed Monaco-based interests were thought ot have bought the 2001-built Suezmax ‘Four Smile’ for $17 mill.

UAE buyers were reported to have purchased the 2000-built Aframax ‘Red Majestic’ for $10.25 mill.

NORDEN was believed to have agreed on subs the purchase of the 2011-built MR sisters ‘Andes’ and ‘Himalaya’ for $21.5 mill each, while Dee4 Capital was said to have 2008-built MR ‘Nord Organiser’ for $16.8 mill and Ukrainian-based interests were reported to have purchased the 2004-built MRs ‘Team Toccata’ and ‘Team Tosca’ for $12.85 mill each.

In an active S&P market, Sovcomflot was said to have sold the 2003-built MR sisters ‘Hermitage Bridge’ and ‘Anichkov Bridge’ for $10.5 mill each.


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