Norwegian shipping group Bergesen d.y. ASA predicts that tanker markets would stay strong due to good demand for oil, but that the number of vessels sold for scrap would fall in 2000.
The company, one of the world's top shipping groups, reported a fall in pre-tax earnings to $10.2 million from $19.8 million in the first quarter of 1999.
"The tanker market is expected to stay strong in future due to the lifting of OPEC's production restraints as well as good growth in oil consumption," company officials said. OPEC and other nations including Norway relaxed restrictions on oil production from April 1 after a surge in prices to nine-year highs in early 2000.
"The number of ships sold for scrap is expected to fall compared to 1999 due to better earnings and a greater level of optimism," officials added. The company also forecast "weak growth" in shipping volumes in the very large gas carrier sector.