Far East takes bulk of crude trade
IT was ever thus in the tanker market: the volume of business concluded goes up and the rates go down.
So it was again last week with 17 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and ultra large crude carriers (ULCCs) being fixed out of the Middle East Gulf compared with the previous week's 11.
This is an increase of about 1.5 million dwt, the Far East accounting for 12 fixtures, the West and the Red Sea for three, and South Africa for two.
The rate for a VLCC to the West was Worldscale 41 while South Africa, Singapore and South Korea averaged between WS 42.5 and WS 45.
The level to Japan has gone off slightly. The last fixture indicates a rate below WS 52.5 as the norm.
There has been a slight reduction in vessel availability during the next month to 20 million dwt, comprising 75 VLCCs and ULCCs.
The Aframax market to the Far East from the Middle East Gulf has shown a slightly firmer tendency with an 80,000-tonner achieving WS 122.5 for Australia, while similar sized vessels were registering about WS 110 to the Mediterranean.
The norm for the million-barrel tanker to the United States and Europe stands at WS 72.5-75.
However, the most interesting development in this area has been the utilisation of several VLCCs to the Far East where a lump sum freight of US$1.1 million was paid to Singapore, which was the same level accepted by a million-barrel tanker in the same trade.
Activity out of the Mediterranean continues to be disappointing with owners of the 80,000-tonne vessels only able to achieve levels of between WS 100 and WS 105 for cross-Mediterranean voyages.
The million-barrel tanker obtained WS 75 and a VLCC WS 60 in the same trade.
There has been a big rise in the number of fixtures arranged out of the Caribbeans compared with the previous week.
However, the 70,000-tonne upcoast movement has in some instances been forced to concede slightly lower rates with WS 132.5 being accepted in the Caribbeans/US Gulf trade.
An 80,000-tonner accepted WS 120 for a cargo from Venezuela to Europe, which was a similar rate received by a 60,000-tonner, while a 100,000-tonner closed to Spain at WS 67.5.
Not to be outdone, the market in the North Sea also fell to where the 80,000-tonner was fixing within Europe at WS 107.5, with the million-barrel tanker closing at WS 105 for the same voyage. Report supplied by London shipbroker E A Gibson