VLCC Rates Hit Highs

Tuesday, November 21, 2000
Middle East to Asia bound very large crude carrier (VLCC) rates have hit to a new record high beyond the psychological barrier of W200, brokers said on Tuesday. Indonesian oil major Pertamina paid W205 to fix the C Navigator for a 245,000 ton cargo going East at the end of November, but that peak was above the current market, brokers said.

"Remember this is a small cargo, so the rate is higher than the usual VLCC rate," said one Oslo-based tanker broker.

"The ship's next cargo will be 265,000 ton, and for that it has fixed at W188. The rate for 270,000 tonrs from the AG to South Korea is still in the W175-180 region." This equates to $2.4 per barrel.

The W205 rate is the biggest for a VLCC going East since the early seventies, but changes to the flat rates and to the bunker prices since then mean the two cannot be easily compared.

Further rate increases will largely depend on how many cargoes remain to be fixed. Brokers say there still appears to be scope for further rate gains. Geneva-based broker Marinav puts the November tally of VLCC and ULCC fixtures at 128 for a cargo total of 34.5 million tons. December stands at 80 fixtures so far, compared to a monthly average for the year of 113 fixtures and a monthly high of 129.

"We need 20 more fixtures to meet the low, 33 for the average and 49 to equal the high," says Marinav's Riaz Khan. "Which will it be?" he adds, "By our count 32 more fixtures is what we expect, for a total of 112."

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