Tanker rates for early liftings from the Middle East to short-haul Asian routes have burst through the Worldscale 100 points barrier, brokers said. An early May VLCC fixture
for Singapore on the Flandre was reported at W105/6 ($6.75 per ton) and a Red Sea destination lifting was attempted at W100, brokers said.
"Charterers are staring down the barrel of a W100-plus market," broker Galbraith's said.
A shortage of modern vessels has pushed rates up, but charterers are now having to pay high levels even for older ships as they became difficult to find, brokers said. "Tonnage is in very short supply. It is going to keep rates at and around these levels for some time," another broker said.
Several recent westbound fixtures to the U.S. would add to the vessel shortages by keeping a larger than usual number of vessels out of the Middle East for a couple of months, a broker said. - (Reuters)