Over-supply hits rates on VLCCs
FALLING demand for VLCCs (very large crude carriers) to the West was highlighted last week with the anticipated availability for this month of 62 vessels, totalling 19 million tonnes.
Rates continue to disappoint out of the Middle East Gulf with a 318,000 tonner with a cargo of 287,000 tonnes taking Worldscale (WS) 45 for the UK-continent with the option of the US Gulf at WS 42.5.
Two VLCCs secured employment out of West Africa at WS 55 for voyages to the US, 17.5 points down on the level obtained this time last month.
Million-barrel tankers have not suffered quite as badly, with the average rate being WS 82.5 for a voyage from the Middle East to the US Atlantic coast (USAC), a level similar to that obtainable for Europe.
By the close of last week, enquiry for black-oil carriers out of the Caribbean had improved, although this was not obvious from the rates, which again dropped from earlier levels.
The latest fixtures on 70,000 tonners loading from the Caribbean for the US Gulf-USAC have been about WS 122.5 to WS 125, while the larger units have had to accept a reduction on these levels.
A 130,000 tonner booked from eastern Mexico to Spain at WS 57.5 while a 72,000 tonner accepted WS 98 for an Atlantic movement.
It has hardly been an exciting time in the North Sea, with rates again falling to match previous levels.
The 80,000 tonner is closing within a band of WS 102.5 and WS 107.5, while 135,000 tonners are accepting rates in the mid-WS 80s for voyages both to the Mediterranean and east-coast Canada, VLCCs are receiving WS 60 to the Mediterranean and WS 52.5 to the US Gulf.
In the product tanker market, active conditions have prevailed for owners of medium-range, clean vessels trading in the Middle East Gulf although rates have yet to show any improvement owing to the large number of vessels available.
A two-tier market has developed, with an abundance of older vessels competing and forcing rates down to WS 160 to WS 170 for 30,000-tonners.
Vessels to South Korea have seen rates remain in the mid-low WS 170s for cargoes of 55,000 tonnes. Report supplied by London ship broker E.A. Gibson.