Sharp decline in interest in VLCC and ULCC bookings
LAST week saw about business drop by 50 per cent, with just 16 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and ultra large crude carriers ULCCs), amounting to 4.2 million deadweight tonnes, booked equally between eastern and western destinations.
This left 25 vessels available for the balance of the month with a carrying capacity of 7.2 million tonnes.
There has been no material change in the rate level for a VLCC to the West although owners have enjoyed a marginal improvement over the end of last year as bunker prices continued to remain below that at which the Worldscale rate was calculated and thebase Worldscale rate for 1993 was slightly higher.
The best rate for a VLCC was WS 55 to the west which was paid by Kuwaiti principals, while the majority of fixtures concluded were between WS 50 and WS 52.5, with a slight variance between United States Gulf and European destinations.
Rates out of West Africa did not quite hold recent levels, but were fairly buoyant. The last reported fixture for a million-barrel tanker was at WS 80 for the US Gulf with the option of USAC as WS 82.5 and UK-Continent at WS 85, and an 80,000 tonner was able to obtain WS 120 for UK-Continent-Mediterranean discharge.
Rates for transatlantic voyages show a variation on the 80,000-tonne size of between WS 80 and WS 100.
In the North Sea, the combination of exceedingly bad weather, increased production and a shortage of high quality tonnage has created a steamy market although most of it has been of a covert nature.
One North American charterer conceded WS 200 on a 70,000 tonner from the North Sea to Quebec, not surprising bearing in mind recent events in the North Sea.
The Middle East Gulf has again had to contend with a short working week in the Far East, resulting in trade remaining slow for the LR-size vessel.
The rate for the 55,000-tonne early February loaders remains unchanged at WS 152.5 while second-half February vessels have accepted a 2.5 point discount to obtain employment for discharging in Japan.
An excess of MR tonnage, combined with a lack of enquiry, has resulted in rates slipping this week with the highest paid being WS 300 for voyages to India.
Report supplied by London shipbroker E.A. Gibson.