Markets - Tonnage build up impacting on rates

Feb 11 2019

VLCCs remained active particularly in the run up to the Lunar New Year, Fearnleys reported.

However, as the holiday period started the momentum slowed worldwide.

All types of crude carriers remained in ample supply hence charterers were able to pick and choose.

Rates were under increasing pressure as earnings dipped below $20,000 per day for even the most economical vessels.

The bastion - US Gulf/East- also softened by around $1 mill from the last done levels.

Activity was also slow for Suezmaxes in the past week, as the West African third decade dates were slow in being released, which caused a slow decline in rates, as owners tried to secure business as close to their available dates as possible.

TD20 fell to WS70 and with a marked reduction in Turkish Straits delays, TD6 steadied to WS95.

Algerian barrels ex Arzew kept the Med list ticking over and a sprinkling of cargoes from the North bound for the East came as a welcome relief.

A further softening of rates in the week ahead is on the cards, Fearnleys said. Charterers are very much in the driving seat for now.

As expected, North Sea and Baltic Aframax rates also came under downward pressure, mainly due to a lack of activity and a build up of tonnage in the region.

It will take a little while to absorb the waiting tonnage and as a result, the market is expected to remain soft until the third decade fixing window is reached,

It was also a rather quiet week in the Med and Black Sea. Owners were more reluctant to ballast way from the area as they saw the others areas taking a hit.

For example, Carib/US Gulf fell by about WS45 and US Gulf/transatlantic dropped by around WS25-30 points.

A slight downward trend was also seen on cross-Med voyages, while Black Sea stems continued to trade sideways. 

Fearnleys expected the market to remain steady/soft in the coming week on the back of healthy tonnage availability.

Brokers reported that Clearlake had fixed the newbuilding VLCC ‘Olympic Lyra’ for six months at $25,000 per day.

Another VLCC, the 2007-built ‘DHT Europe’ was said to have been taken by CSSA for three years at $20,000 per day.

ST Shipping was also active and took the 2017-built Aframax ‘Arita’ for six months at $14,000 per day and the sister LR1s, the 2003-built ‘Augusta’ and ‘Telluride’ for three years plus a two year option at $17,500per day each.

In the MR segment, rates ranged from $13,250 to $16,000 per day for charters of between six months and a year.

In the newbuilding sector, Russian finance house VEB.RF is to back the construction of three new product tankers for Novatek.

According to Igor Shuvalov, Chairman of the state-led corporation, said the investment will be around Rub10 bill.

The additional three tankers for transportation of light oil products and gas condensate will be capable of operating in severe ice conditions, including the Baltic Sea.

They will be operated by Sovcomflot.

The financial instrument is to be provided by VEB Leasing, the company said.

Turning to S&P, Ocean Yield has taken delivery of the 2016-built Suezmax ‘Milos’ this week.

The vessel was built in 2016 by Sungdong Shipbuilding and is a sistership to ‘Poliegos’, also owned by Ocean Yield.

She commenced a 13 years' bareboat charter to Okeanis Eco Tankers upon her delivery.

Okeanis Eco Tankers was established in 2018 by the Alafouzos family to take over its fleet of modern tanker vessels and tanker newbuildings.

With seven tankers built 2015 to 2018 and eight VLCCs due for delivery this year, the company will focus on Eco-designed vessels fitted with scrubbers.

Elsewhere, Pakistan’s state-owned PNSC reportedly purchased the 2012/2013 built LR1 sisters ‘Kings Road’ and ‘Abbey Road’ for $60.7 mill en bloc.

Two other LR1s, the 2005-built ‘Sino Pacific’ and the 2004-built ‘ PMC P Alpine’, were committed to other Far East interests for $8.2 mill and $7.8 mill, respectively. They are both due a drydocking.

Finally, the 2004-built MR ‘Ardmore Seamaster’ was said to have been sold to Chinese interests for $9.7 mill.


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