Tight vessel supply and rising demand brought have seen Asian VLCC rates soar 26 Worldscale points higher in the last seven trading days to breach the w70 mark on the key Persian Gulf to Japan route.
Platts assessed the VLCC rate for the key Persian Gulf-Japan route at w76.5 basis 265,000 mt Friday, up w11 from Thursday.
The last time the rate was above w70 was on January 25, when it was assessed at w70.5 basis 265,000 mt.
On Friday, Bahri was said to have placed the Great Lady on subjects for a Ras Tanura-Okinawa voyage with options, loading March 30, at w75 basis 270,000 mt.
Persistent delays in North China, higher demand for the third decade of March and VLCCs being taken on short-term time charters all led to the rise in VLCC rates, market sources said.
“There are a lot more cargoes for the third decade of March — about 50 or more. And this is the largest in terms of volume per month that we have seen this year,” a VLCC owner said, adding that charterers were scrambling to cover early-April cargoes.
According to a broker report, there were 139 VLCC fixtures in March so far, compared with 113 in February and 107 in January.
Market sources said that tonnage was tight as there were 10-15 more cargoes for March than in January or February.
For VLCC time charters, the highest rate was $50,000/day for a 30-60 day storage, however a broker said that rates could be up to $60,000 per day for a time charter of 60-90 days, depending on the vessel’s condition.
A time charter earnings at w77.5 for a Ras Tanura-Ulsan voyage means an earning of $59,500/day.