Secrecy In Tanker Market Said To Be Depressing Rates

Wednesday, December 01, 1999
Increased secrecy in the tanker chartering market may be pushing rates lower, even though many brokers and owners like the idea of doing private business. Always a secretive business where only a proportion of trading was made public, more tanker chartering is being done directly through a single broker rather than put out to tender, according to shipping sources. But ship owners and some brokers say charterers are able to dictate rates because they have more information about cargo and ship availability and can influence the perception of supply and demand. Despite this, most tanker brokers generally prefer private business even if it means they cannot compete for some cargoes. Even in good times, underbidding pushes down rates and depresses commissions because owners are desperate to quote for business without knowing whom they were competing against, brokers said. The demise this year of an electronic tanker trading system in which vessels and cargoes could be tendered on screen in an open market community has also played a part, according to some brokers.

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