Markets - VLCCs- Are we at the bottom of the cycle?

Jun 07 2019

There were very few bright spots for VLCCs, a situation that has continued for some time.

The market remains over-tonnaged virtually for all the major VLCC routes, Fearnleys reported.

However, there was a feeling that we were at the bottom, but the long awaited upturn in rates and earnings appeared to be later than most had hoped for or expected.

There were a few instances where owners have tried to push rates up a little, but without much success.

Volumes of business for the major VLCC-routes were far from thin, but this was insufficient to change the oversized tonnage list for now.

Therefore, Fearnleys predicted more of the same to come with subdued rates, as the summer approaches.

Conversely, Suezmaxes saw a good level of activity during the past week.

The tonnage overhang on early dates started to clear up and rates were on the move.

East of Suez, rates remained soft as handicapped tonnage was fighting for employment, keeping rates at last done levels with little prospect of any swift recovery.

As for Aframaxes, the market in the North Sea and Baltic was flat all week on the back of ships sailing on short voyages, discharging in the Baltic area.

TD7 and TD17 held steady at WS100 and WS72.5, respectively, throughout the week, and owners opted for cargoes offering quick turnarounds, as they wait for activity levels to pick up.

In the Mediterranean and Black Sea, we have seen the rates drop almost WS30 points over the course of the week, as a downward correction took hold.

While prompt ships were congregating in the area, the lack of activity from charterers made it difficult for owners to keep the pressure on rates.

At the time of writing (Wednesday), a cross-Med voyage stood at about WS80, giving owners a TCE close to $7,000 per day.

In the week to come, we expect freight levels in the Mediterranean and Black Sea to remain under pressure, as the current tonnage list still looks long, Fearnleys concluded.

In the VLCC period market, rates firmed on the back of a tightening situation.

There was plenty of MR activity and owners were asking for higher rates for shorter periods, Alibra Shipping said.

Oil prices fell due to continuing trade disputes and the fear of a possible economic slowdown affecting oil demand growth.

Brent hit its lowest point for five months this week. 

Illustrating the firmer VLCC period market, brokers reported that the 2018-built scrubber fitted ‘Maria P Lemos’ was fixed to Mercuria for three years at a healthy $43,500, while Trafigura was believed to have taken the 2019-built VLCC ‘Marine Hope’ for three years at $36,500 per day, including options.

ST Shipping was said to have concluded a six month fixture of the 2019-built LR2 ‘Folegandros’ at $20,000 per day, while Koch was believed to have taken the 2008-built MR ‘Gulf Baynunah’ for six months at $15,250 per day.

In the S&P market, TORM is to buy four 2011-built former CPO MRs for $83 mill in total. The expected deliveries are between August and December, 2019, TORM said.

Since the publication of the first quarter results on 14th May, 2019 TORM has agreed to sell an older MR ‘Torm Gunhild’ (built in 1999), for $6 mill.

Brokers reported that the 2012-built VLCC ‘Brightoil Gravity’ was sold at auction to Hong Kong-based interests for $55.8 mill.

Samos Steamship has committed the 2010-built MR ‘Mariposa’ to Kassian Maritime at $18.15 mill, while d’Amico Tankers committed the 2014-built MR ‘High Sun’ to Ditas Shipping for $28.7 mill.

Gestion was reported to have purchased the 2007-built Handysize ‘Kandava’ for $11.6 mill.

In the newbuilding sector, the sixth of eight small chemical tankers ordered by the Gothia Tanker Alliance was named in China.

The 18,000 dwt ‘Ramelia’ was built by Avic Dingheng for Rederi AB Älvtank.

Featuring a capacity of 19,800 cu m, the tanker is equipped with batteries and dual fuel engines for LNG operation and is of Ice Class 1A notation.

Designed by Swedish marine engineering company FKAB, the vessel concept is named FKAB T24C1 and was developed by FKAB together with Furetank.

Elsewhere, Tristar reportedly ordered four 25,000 dwt chemical tankers at Hyundai Mipo  for $40 mill each.


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June 2020

low carbon strategy - digital tanker market models - battery explosions - better catering onboard - challenges of ballast installations