Marine Link
Thursday, March 23, 2017

Seaonal Surges Not Enough To Lift Rates From Depression

Sustained strong oil demand growth is required to lift product tanker freight rates out of their current depressed levels, shipbroker Simpson Spence & Young said in a new report. Temporary seasonal surges could be seen in rates but it would take until the northern hemisphere winter of 2000-2001 before the sector experienced a sustained rise in earnings, SSY said in its latest half yearly World Oil tanker Trends report. "The only factor that can lift the product trade out of the gloom is sustained and strong oil demand growth," SS&Y reported. Positive signs were seen in current global oil demand, SS&Y said, but a bloated vessel orderbook precluded near term recovery.

Tanker Trends

Strong demand for VLCC tankers in the Middle East failed to create a massive breakout in rates, but owners were happy as bunker fuel prices continued to fall, brokers said early last week. Expectations that a lack of modern tonnage would hike rates for mid-April oil major-approved vessels failed to come true. An Exxon cargo for Singapore lifting from three Mideast ports finally got done at the going rate of W77.5 (about $5.00 per ton) after early week offers of W100 had excited dreams W87.5 ($5.50) could be achieved. Other eastern rates held ground or crept up with the average for Japan W77.5 ($8.50 per ton) and W75 ($7.00) for South Korea. Western prices also inched up to around W65 ($11.25 per ton) for the U.S. Gulf while Red Sea fixtures achieved W72.5-75.

Tanker Trends

Freight rates for crude tankers loading early April in the Middle East were climbing early last week as shipowners held out for higher prices in expectation of heavy vessel fixing, brokers said. VLCC rates to the U.S. Gulf were expected to rise five or more Worldscale points to W62.5-65 ($10.75 per ton) for the next done fixture, some brokers said. Japan shipment prices were also lifting with the latest bookings at W70 ($7.50 per ton), up from W67.5 in the week before. "We believe this week will be heavy for one reason alone, there will be placement of barrels West to alleviate the shortage that the U.S. market is stressing," broker Marinav Shipping & Trading forecast in its March 13 report.

Tanker Trends: Markets Lose Steam During Asian Holidays

Tanker markets cooled as Asian holidays took the steam out of recent strength, but some brokers saw it starting to simmer again last week. Holidays in Japan and Korea this week coincided with the end of most charterers' May programs, brokers said May 5. Approximately 18 VLCC fixtures of five million tons were reported in the Middle East Gulf, down from 22 of six million tons the week before, according to broker E.A. Gibsons. "However, there was sufficient momentum in the market to maintain rates at their previous levels," Gibsons said. With modern tonnage remaining in tight supply it was reasonable to expect rates to stay at current levels or even improve over the next few weeks, it added.

Arctic Ice Sets New Record Low for Winter

Photo: NOAA

The extent of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has set a new record low for the wintertime in a region strongly affected by long-term trends of global warming, U.S. and European scientists said on Wednesday. Sea ice around the North Pole expands to its biggest extent of the year in February or March after a deep freeze in the winter polar darkness and shrinks to the smallest of the year in September, at the end of the brief Arctic summer. Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its annual maximum extent on March 7…

Shipping Confidence Steady despite Industry, Political Pressures

© Federico Rostagno / Adobe Stock

Shipping confidence held steady in the three months to end-February 2017, according to the latest Shipping Confidence Survey from international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens. In February 2017, the average confidence level expressed by respondents was 5.6 out of 10, unchanged from the previous survey in November 2016 and equal to the highest rating since August 2015. Owners were the only main category to show an improved level of confidence, up from 5.4 to 5.6.

Cycles in Seaborne Trade

Graph: Clarksons Research

In the last few decades, the shipping industry has generally been able to rely on seaborne trade as a fairly steady performer, says a report from Clarksons Research. From 1988 to 2008 growth in world seaborne trade averaged an estimated 4.2% pa, a fairly robust level underpinning long-term demand for ships. Sure, the markets at times felt the impact of oversupply, but sustained weakness of demand growth wasn’t generally the problem. However, since 2009 the growth rate has slowed, averaging 3.2%, and just 2.8% since 2013.

Shipping’s Half Year Report – “Must Do Better”

Graph: Clarksons Research

With the spread of challenges facing the industry, it’s unlikely the shipping markets would achieve many top grades, says Clarksons Research. However some sectors might still achieve an “A” for effort and this week’s analysis reviews the markets’ performance in the first half. The Graph compares performance in the first half of 2016 to the averages since the financial crisis, as a barometer of performance against trend. First on the graph is the ClarkSea Index, our average earnings index covering all major sectors, which is 18% down on the average since 2009 and 30% compared to 1H 2015.

The Product Tanker Orderbook: Slimming Down?

Graph: Clarksons Research

A report by Clarksons Research said that following an extremely weak year for product tanker contracting in 2016, the product tanker orderbook has declined significantly and at the start of February 2017 was equivalent to 10.2% of fleet capacity, the lowest level in nearly 17 years. While orderbook trends have differed between vessel sizes, the shrinking orderbook is expected to lead to slower overall growth in the product tanker fleet in the coming years. At the start of February, the product tanker orderbook (10,000+ dwt) stood at 321 ships of 16.0m dwt.

Despite Rising US Production, Saudi Crude Still Flows In

Saudi crude & the US market: Chart courtesy of Poten & Partners

Reported spot market activity from the Arabian Gulf remains on an upward trend since 2010 in spite of rising US crude production, reports Poten & Partners’ in their latest ‘Tanker Opinions’. Over the past few years US domestic crude oil production has supplanted foreign crude oil imports. To the extent that they possibly can, domestic refiners have shifted to local grades that have trended at an often significant price discount. Interestingly, however, fixture activity on the Arabian Gulf to US Gulf trade route remains robust.

Vessel Losses: Is Shipping Resuscitating Its Record?

Graph: Clarksons Research

Safety at sea has improved significantly in the past twenty years, with losses of large merchant vessels becoming a relatively rare event, says a report from Clarksons Research. Whilst casualties appear to be more common among older and smaller vessels, total losses seem to be on a downward trajectory. Even as the world fleet reached its greatest ever size, last year marked the fewest number of vessel losses on record. Although major accidents will always hit the headlines, merchant ships have in recent times been an extremely low risk form of transport.

First LNG-fueled Aframax Tankers Ordered

Image: Hyundai Heavy Industries Group

Hyundai Heavy Industries’ shipbuilding affiliate Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI) said it recently won a $240 million order to build four 114,000 DWT Ice-Class IA aframax tankers from Sovcomflot, the Russia’s state-owned shipping company. The vessels are said to be the world’s first LNG-fueled aframax tankers, and will measure 250 meters in length, 44 meters in width and 21 meters in height. They are scheduled to be delivered from the third quarter of 2018 and to be chartered to Shell.

Market Volatility Affects Sovcomflot

Tanker SCF Baltica. Photo:  PAO Sovcomflot

Sovcomflot is one of the world’s leaders in energy shipping as well as in servicing offshore upstream oil and gas projects. It has reported lower time charter equivalent revenue (TCE) of USD 1,142.2 million (2015: USD 1,240.1 million), EBITDA of USD 706.5 million (2015: USD 780.1 million) and net profit of USD 206.8 million (2015: USD 354.5 million). Sergey Frank, President and CEO of Sovcomflot said: “Sovcomflot has delivered a solid set of results for 2016, despite market volatility in a year that has severely tested our industry.

Inland Shipping Company Jade Orders Tanker

Inland shipping company Jade ordered a tanker with a loading capacity of 10,000 tons. The inland vessel will be 135 m. long, 20 m. wide, gets a draught of 4.2 m and contains 28 tanks. It will be deployed on the Rhine. So far some six tankers of a comparable large size are ordered or in use, indicating a trend of upscaling of the inland tanker business.

Banking Sector Feels The Effects Of Consolidation

The number of major banks involved in the shipping industry has decreased substantially over the last few years. According to Michael Parker, managing director of Citibank, this is just one of many sectors hit by the ongoing consolidation trend in the shipping arena. "Banks can not live on interest margin alone without a substantial rise in spreads. They are having to look for other revenues/fees," said Parker, speaking at the LSE Shipping Finance Conference in London on November 14-15, 2000. Mergers in the banking sector such as Chase and JP Morgan, and Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, are illustrative of the fever of consolidation that has also spread into the bulk, P&I, classification, ports and e-commerce sectors.

Tanker Orders Will Not Be Cancelled

According to a report from Emirates Business 24/7, existing new-build programs in the tanker sector of the shipping industry are expected to go ahead with no fear of cancellations despite the current slowdown in the industry's performance, said a senior executive. While ship orders in other sectors have suffered from unprecedented cancellations due to financial constraints, the relatively stronger position of the tanker sector has helped to prevent a similar trend. (Source: Emirates Business 24/7)

Maersk Tankers to Trial Rotor Sails

Maersk P-Class Illustration with two 30x5 Norsepower Rotor Sails (Photo: Maersk Tankers / Norsepower)

Norsepower Oy Ltd. in partnership with Maersk Tankers, The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), and Shell Shipping & Maritime, have announced that it will install and trial Flettner rotor sails onboard a Maersk Tankers-owned vessel. The project will be the first installation of wind-powered energy technology on a product tanker vessel, and will provide insights into fuel savings and operational experience. The rotor sails will be fitted during the first half of 2018, before undergoing testing and data analysis at sea until the end of 2019.

Glimpses of AIS Trends in the PortVision 2014 Crystal Ball

AIS Display: Image Wiki CCL

Houston, Texas-based PortVision, a leading provider of business intelligence solutions for the maritime industry, shares its projections for the top vessel-tracking trends that it believes will have the greatest impact on the maritime industry during 2014. Trend #1: Improving real-time visibility and decision-making. Advances in AIS-based vessel-tracking tools and technology that move the industry beyond simple “points on a map” to on-demand and immediately actionable business insights and intelligence. Trend #2: Improving marine terminal efficiencies.

MISC Sees Growth Opportunities

Amidst fears of a tanker glut, MISC Bhd sees growth opportunities in the tanker business. President and chief executive officer Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas said shipping was a cyclical business and industry players recognized that there would be opportunities to expand during a downturn. An increase in oil prices, a number of new tankers transporting crude oil and increasing size of oil tankers fleet worldwide had raised concerns among the shipping fraternity of a potential tanker glut. It was reported that the size of the oil tanker fleet expanded 3.8% this year, overwhelming the 1.7% growth in in crude oil demand estimated by the International Energy Agency.

Tanker Euphoria Drives Ratings Bump

The cyclical nature of the tanker market continues its trend upward, a development which has Lazard & Freres & Co. stamping both Nordic American Tankers (ASE: NAT) and Knightsbridge Tankers Ltd. In a pair of separate corporate profiles released June 29, Lazard & Freres’ James L. In accordance with this information, Winchester has raised VLCCF’s 2000 dividend estimate to $2.32 from $2.29, a dividend which implies of yield of 11.9%. There are a myriad of factors driving the current VLCC surge, chief among them increased oil production and a lack of qualified tonnage. Oil production was boosted by a 708,000 bpd rise in OPEC quota, agreed June 21 to help keep oil pricing in the desired $22-$28 range.

Shipping industry market trends for 2014 - John Nikolaou

John Nikolaou

Greek shipowners have returned to the top of the global shipping economy by controlling a gross tonnage of 164 million tons, overtaking the Japanese on 159.4 million tons. According to Clarksons, this global lead illustrates that Greeks operate much bigger ships because they own 4,984 vessels against 8,537 managed by the Japanese and 6,427 by the Chinese. Japanese have invested huge funds during the past decade which resulted in significant losses during the crisis, while Greeks proved to be more conservative during the period of industry growth and had less negative impact on them.

Getting The Measure Of Intra-Asian Containership Trends

Graph: Clarksons Research

Container trade on intra-Asian routes accounts for a significant proportion of global seaborne container trade, and in 2016, growth in intra-Asian box trade accelerated notably, helping to generate a healthier demand environment in the boxship sector, says a report in Clarksons Research. Meanwhile, trends in containership deployment on intra-Asian routes continued to constitute a key dynamic on the supply side. Intra-Asian container trade totalled an estimated 52m TEU in 2016, accounting for around 29% of global box volumes.

MAN 48/60CR Engines for New US Navy Tankers

The FM-MAN 14V48/60CR engine (T-AOX will use 2 x 12V46/60CR Engines) (Image: MAN Diesel & Turbo)

The U.S. Navy has chosen the Fairbanks Morse MAN 12V48/60CR engine as main propulsion for a new series of 17 ships as it begins plans to phase out its existing tanker fleet. Known colloquially as oilers, the existing aging fleet of 15 tankers is used to transfer fuel from coastal ports to naval vessels at sea. Lex Nijsen – Head of Four-Stroke Marine – MAN Diesel & Turbo, said, “The U.S. Navy knows our 48/60 engine very well, especially our L48/60A variant, and this played a key role in Fairbanks Morse winning this contract. In studying the replacement of the existing tankers, the U.S.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Mar 2017 - The Green Marine Technology Edition

Maritime Reporter and Engineering News’ first edition was published in New York City in 1883 and became our flagship publication in 1939. It is the world’s largest audited circulation magazine serving the global maritime industry, delivering more insightful editorial and news to more industry decision makers than any other source.

Subscribe
Maritime Reporter E-News subscription

Maritime Reporter E-News is the subsea industry's largest circulation and most authoritative ENews Service, delivered to your Email three times per week

Subscribe for Maritime Reporter E-News