Despite a general feeling that VLCC activity was slow last week, the volumes were actually ‘normal’.
The oversupply of tonnage weighed heavy on sentiments and rates went down sharply on all major VLCC routes, Fearnleys reported.
Earnings for MEG/East and West Africa/East fell to below $40,000 per day and even Caribbean/East rates dropped sharply, due to lower volumes and too many ships. There were still delays being experienced in eastern ports, but thus far, this has had little to no effect on the general sentiment.
As anticipated, the soft sentiment continued last week for Suezmaxes with limited activity in the Med/Black Sea and West Africa. A tonnage build up was unavoidable and resulted in rates dropping further below the WS70 mark for voyages from West Africa to Med and Continent.
Going forward, we feel that an increase in activity for the remainder of the second week of this month will change the momentum resulting in an upward adjustment in rates as the bottom had possibly been reached, Fearnleys said.
Since last week, North Sea and Baltic Aframax rates have continued to move sideways at bottom levels. Crude cargoes ex Baltic are now covered to the 15th of this month and owners saw no signs of a short term recovery.
Med and Black Sea expectations were high, due to the heavy March programmes. However, unfortunately for the owners, the reality was very different. The main reason was the amount of prompt ship availability.
Two ex Med cargoes loading this week received 10 and 12 offers, respectively. The 10 offer cargo went on subs at WS80 while the 12 offers sent the market further down to an astonishing WS70. charterers saw the window of opportunity and followed up with several Black Sea cargoes, which were all fixed rather quickly at WS85 levels.
Even if the low numbers look depressing for owners, we believe this market will recover over the next couple of weeks, as a lot of the ships are now disappearing being committed far ahead and will not come back into position before the end of the month.
Meanwhile, Reliance reportedly fixed three VLCCs for period business. The 2002-built ‘DHT Eagle’ and the similar vintage ‘Britanis’ were thought fixed for two years at $40,000 per day, while the 2007-built ‘Bunga Kastura Empat’ was said to have attained $38,500 per day for a three year charter.
The 2003-built Aframax ‘ADS Oslo’ was said to have been fixed to AET for two years at $23,500 per day.
Scorpio Tankers (STI) has confirmed it had time chartered-in three Ice Class 1A Handymaxes.
Each fixture is for three years at $15,600 per day. STIK said that it also had two consecutive one year options to extend the charters at $16,500 per day and $17,500 per day, respectively.
The charters were expected to commence before the end of this month. In addition, STI has the option to timecharter-in up to four more Ice Class 1A Handymaxes on the same terms, the company said.
In the S&P sector, Bahri has purchased the 2011-built VLCC ‘Hanjin Ras Tanura’ for $75 mill, following its foray into the MR market a couple of weeks ago. Greek-based NGM Energy was believed to have purchased the 1998-built VLCC ‘Takachiho II’ for $21.45 mill.
The 2007-built MRs ‘St Johannes’ and ‘St Marien’ were thought sold to undisclosed interests, possibly an in-house deal, for $22 mill each, which included a timecharter back to the sellers at $15,500 per day each.
Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has told newswires that it is considering selling its tanker division in the light of massive debts thought to be more than $5 bill.
HMM has already said it will sell part of its drybulk assets, plus a terminal in Busan.
A meeting with creditors is scheduled in the middle of this month to discuss pushing back debt payments, Splash reported.