Tankers: VLCC Market in the Doldrums


The VLCC sector had a torrid week with Charterers firmly in the driving seat. Rates tumbled in the Middle East with 270,000mt to China at WS36.5 region, down 19 points week-on-week. The 280,000mt to US Gulf via the Cape/Cape routing is assessed eight points lower at WS23.5. In the Atlantic it was a similar sorry tale with 260,000mt West Africa to China shedding 17.5 points to WS38 level. Meanwhile, 270,000mt USG to China was rated at $6.1m – which is just over $1m less than a week ago.

Rates seem to have finally found the baseline this week, with 135,000mt Black Sea/Med settling at WS48.75 – 1.5 points lower than last week – as 140,000mt Middle East Gulf to Med has remained flat at WS21.5 level. In the 130,000mt west Africa to UKCont trade, rates collapsed about 10 points to mid-high WS30s early in the week. However, the market resurged to mid WS40s level on Thursday.

In the Mediterranean market, rates for 80,000mt Ceyhan/Med have stumbled again and lost 2.5 points to WS57. In Northern Europe, rates for 80,000mt Hound Point/UKCont gained a couple of points to WS75 level. The 100,000mt Baltic/UKCont rates saw the same improvement to WS45 region. Across the Atlantic, rates for 70,000mt Carib/USGulf fell five points to WS65, while the 70,000mt USGulf/UKCont market remained static around the WS67.5-70 mark.

In the Middle East Gulf there was a sense of deja vu for owners with rates for 75,000mt to Japan unable to gain any traction, which ended up easing from mid WS80s to low WS80s. Activity in the 55,000mt trade to Japan stalled and rates were steady throughout the week at around WS 80 level. It was a similarly uninspiring week for owners plying the 37,000mt UKC to USAC trade, with rates remaining under pressure and the market eased five points to WS 80. Nevertheless, for the front end of the fixing window, tonnage is now tighter and brokers feel there is potential for a modest improvement here. It was a tale of two halves for owners looking for backhaul business from US Gulf where rates for 38,000mt to UKC initially dipped down to mid /high WS50s before nudging back to low WS60s. The 30,000mt clean cross-Med trade saw more enquiries with rates hovering between the high WS90s and very low WS100S. A replacement cargo from El Dekheila did pay a premium of WS 142.5. However, it was generally a week of struggle for owners and the market has now edged up to around WS105 region.

Source: The Baltic Briefing



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