ST Shipping, Glencore’s shipping arm, has taken the LR2 Pro Alliance on time charter for up to nine months, market participants said Tuesday.
LR2s have been in considerable demand for the last few weeks, as traders seek tankers to ship the large volumes of gasoil available in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, they said. Such tankers typically carry up to 90,000 mt.
But eastbound freight rates from Asia Pacific for LR2s have come under downward pressure from availability of newbuilds.
Availability of new ships, including both LR2s, and larger dirty tankers such as VLCCs with discounted rates for their maiden voyage, is capping LR2 rates.
At least six VLCCs have recently been chartered to move gasoil, a chartering source said. VLCCs usually carry crude or fuel oil, but often take a clean product cargo on their maiden voyage.
“A couple of owners are trying to corner the charterers but the fundamentals are just not [strong],” the source said.
A Glencore executive declined to comment.