A group of leading shipowners are pooling their large oil tankers
in a move to offer customers "one-stop shopping," officials of the newly-formed Tankers International said, adding that the fragmented nature of the business has required that owners consolidate to become more flexible.
Shipping analysts say the creation of a 38-strong fleet may strengthen a negotiating position and could help achieve of higher charter rates. However, Tankers International officials
said their focus will be more on cutting operational costs than on rates.
Rates for oil tankers are currently low and in some cases daily returns have fallen below break-even for modern vessels. Ample tonnage and high bunker costs have also taken their toll on ship earnings.
A P Moller, Euronav, Frontline, Overseas Shipholding Group (OSGIQ)
, Osprey Maritime, and Reederei "Nord" Klaus E. Oldendorff are the shippers behind the new group. Regulatory approval is expected by Feb. 15, 2000.