A foreman wearing a face mask works as a cargo ship docks at a container terminal of Qingdao port in Shandong province, China while the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, February 4, 2020.
A combination of tankers coming onto the market as sanctions are lifted (punishing companies from transporting Iranian cargo) - and the Corona virus - could depress tanker rates, says Vessels Value.
Last summer, the US put sanctions on a number of Chinese Tanker owners. Due to the opaque ownership structures of the fleets, charterers stayed well clear of any vessel possibly related, thus reducing the available supply ultimately causing rates to peak at a 10 year high, Vessels Value says.
Combined with terrorist activity in the gulf, and a number of other vessels going out of service to have regulatory equipment installed e.g. exhaust gas scrubbers, the Tanker market has been looking healthy with owners enjoying the increased rates throughout autumn and winter.
There have been a number of additional downward pressures; Chinese New Year and now Coronavirus. These should have an impact on the Chinese use of Tankers, but interestingly the data isn’t showing this. See chart below with no significant downward trend. However, the full impact of the Coronavirus may not have been felt yet so prolonged continuation could present risk to Chinese oil demand, port calls and hence the tanker market. See chart below showing daily crude Tanker port calls in China.