Tanker VLCC rates on the rise – has the market turned?
VLCCs are back in vogue, following around three years in the doldrums.
By 15th November, VLCCs had hit $50,000 per day (WS62.5) on the benchmark Middle East Gulf to Japan (TD3) route, reported Gibson Research.
Continuing the market’s strength, today (22nd November) brokers reported fixtures from AG to China at W66.
For the period January to October this year, TD3 rates were very poor, averaging around WS36 (circa $12,500 per day). But this rate hike, which built up over a three week period at the end of October/mid November was a significant improvement, the broker said.
The positive jump into substantially improved earnings has also been reflected in the
Atlantic Basin VLCC rates, which reached their highest level in almost three years.
The pre-winter rally was much stronger this year in comparison to 2012. The flow of
enquiry has remained strong and as charterers pushed further ahead than normal, the resulting tightening in vessel availability enabled owners to push rates up substantially, Gibson said.
While crude tanker owners are hoping rates will remain strong throughout the winter
period, the underlying problem of oversupply is still ever present.
The current trading VLCC fleet stands at around 600 vessels. But with an expected four more scheduled to be delivered by the end of this year and a further 58 set for delivery from the start of 2014 onwards, trading conditions are going to remain challenging.
But owners will hope that in the short term, charterers will help them again by repeating their November rush to market for the December programme.
The VLCC S&P market is also moving again, highlighted by Navios Acquisition’s purchase of three Hong Kong Chinese-controlled 2009/2011-built VLCCs for around $163 mill en bloc,the recently reported sale of a newbuilding VLCC to the Angelicoussis Group for $88 mill and also the reported sale of the 2012-built Korea Line- controlled ‘Blue Opal’ for $83 mill.