Supertanker Half-Empty Mood Returns in Shipping Market


Oil prices may be in the dumps, but the good old days weren’t so long ago for companies that haul crude around the world. They got a recent, if fleeting, reminder of happy times.

On some measures, 2015, was the most lucrative period for chartering supertankers known as “very large crude carriers.” Daily rates touched $100,000 on some routes, according to Teekay Tankers. Prices crashed by more than half by this March as refineries went into maintenance and newly-built ships came onto the market. But a massive tanker jam off of Iraq’s main oil facility plus weather issues in China helped rates double at the end of last month.

The rejoicing in tanker-land was brief, though, as the market has given up nearly all those gains. And it may get worse: buyers have no place to put extra barrels yet futures prices are no longer conducive to using supertankers as floating storage. And a surge of new tankers late this year, ordered when times were better, may depress rates further.

Hope truly floats.

Source: Wall Street Journal



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