VLCC owners were firmly in the driving seat last week managing to boost rates above $80,000 per day for MEG/East trips.
These are levels not even the most optimistic could dream of at this time of the year, Fearnleys said in its weekly report.
The hike in rates was as a result of extensive delays in the Far East and waiting times at BOT, which created so much uncertainty on the tonnage supply that charterers did not hold back, despite not having stem confirmations in hand.
West Africa/East followed and further tests will lie ahead. Has the market peaked or is there further upside is the big question, as Saudi stem confirmations were expected by the end of this week.
After a steady start beginning of last week, Suezmax rates increased when charterers started quoting first week of April cargoes out of West Africa.
Combined with strong VLCC rates, the Suezmax sentiment turned around in the owners favour, with a potential split of VLCC cargoes.
In the East, several Suezmaxes have been taken on short tiemcharter for storage duties, which put pressure on the rates, due to limited tonnage availability, Fearnleys said.
Med/Black Sea did not seen much activity and at time of writing (Wednesday), we are still waiting for April stems to come into play.
Aframaxes trading in the North Sea and Baltic market faced another week of rates hovering around bottom levels. However, this market is looking a bit more interesting going forward.
The Baltic programme for early April cargoes is looking relatively good in terms of volume, hence owners feel they will be in a position to push rates upwards in the short term.
In the Med and Black Sea, rates came off significantly at the end of last week, due to some quiet days. However, the start of this week proved busier than expected and rates bounced back to levels above WS110. Going forward, we expect market to remain strong fo March and early April, Fearnleys concluded.
In the charter market, Concordia Maritime has confirmed the charter of the P-MAX, ‘Stena Progress’.
The contract, which comes into effect in April, 2016, is for three years, is with a national oil company. The rate was not revealed.
“We are continuing to take advantage of the market momentum by chartering out another of our P-MAX tankers over a longer period. We have now chartered out three of our 10 P-MAX tankers over longer periods and are continuously evaluating the possibility of similar arrangements. All contracts are fully in line with our chartering strategy. We ensure a good level of income for the vessel over the coming year, while balancing the exposure to the spot market in a well-judged way,”explained Kim Ullman, Concordia Maritime CEO.
The vessel will be mainly used for niche trades in the Atlantic Basin, the company said.
Elsewhere, Statoil was reported to have fixed the 2009-built VLCC ‘Front Endeavour’ for 12 months at $46,000 per day. FLOPEC was believed to have fixed the 2007-built LR1 ‘United Carrier’ for 18 months at $23,000 per day.
Koch was again active taking five MRs on period charter at rates varying from $17,150 to $17,750 per day. Stena Weco was said to have fixed the 2009-built MR ‘Maetiga’ at $17,500 per day.
DHT said that its latest delivery from Hyundai, the VLCC ‘DHT Lion’ will trade on the spot market. She is the third of six newbuilding VLCCs for the company. The fourth is scheduled for July delivery.
Axion Energy was said to have ordered two Aframaxes at Namura for 2018 deliveries. AMPTC was also rumoured to be close to ordering more tonnage.
Latvian Shipping was also said to have ordered two MRs from Hyundai Vinashin, also for 2018 deliveries.
In the S&P market, Nathalin was believed to have bought the 2005-built Aframax ‘Trident Star’ on subjects until the end of this month for $26 mill, while Eurotankers was believed to have splashed out $23 mill for the 2006-built Aframax ‘Ratna Puja’.
Reported leaving the fleet was the 1991-built 40,000 dwt ‘Kampos’ believed sold to Pakistani breakers for $240 per ldt.