Tanker Rates Fall

Wednesday, March 21, 2001
Million-barrel tanker trades have been unable to weather a wave of fresh competition from VLCCs in the Atlantic, and rates have started to plummet, brokers said on Wednesday. "A lot of charterers are taking Vs (VLCCs) now, and all the Suezmaxes (million-barrel tankers) are building up with nothing going on in the Med and North Sea," said a London broker. Oslo brokers reported on Wednesday that Sun had chartered the million-barrel North Star for a voyage from Angola to the U.S Atlantic Coast at W147.5, compared to week-ago levels of W180. At the start of the week, freight from Nigeria to the U.S. Gulf was $1.74 per barrel on a VLCC, compared to $2.3 per barrel on a million-barrel tanker, although brokers said on Wednesday that the spread was rapidly narrowing. The biggest effect on rates has been seen on West African trades, but North Sea and Mediterranean trades are also in decline. Wednesday's fixture lists showed thin enquiry on North Sea million-barrel trades, with the Tromso Confidence fixed by Irving for a transatlantic voyage at W177.5, about 30 points down on week-ago levels. London's Baltic Exchange pegged cross-Mediterranean trades on million-barrel tankers at W185, about 12 points down on week-ago levels. - (Reuters)

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