Rates for the larger crude oil tanker markets were mostly flat last week.
Rates for the larger crude oil tanker markets were mostly flat last week, brokers told. International Petroleum Week kept a large chunk of charterers away from work and players pointed out that ?most of the action (was) seen from Chinese charterers picking tonnage to cover COAs [contract of affreightment].?
Double hull MEG-East VLCC voyages held around WS 50 last week, just as they did in the week before, while fixtures to move West African crude oil to the US Gulf picked up slightly from WS 52.5 to WS 55, brokers said.
There has been a surge in activity in the West African market, with some sources confident of a tight tonnage list, but suezmax rates for those routes also picked up only slightly however, from WS 70 to WS 75 for voyages to the US Atlantic Coast.
One broker was quoted saying ?it was a shame that rates [West African market] remained fairly unchanged as the number of fixtures concluded was an improvement on recent weeks.?
Rates for VLCC voyages east from the MEG look likely to make some improvement this week however.
According to one source, charterers coming back to work after IP week could spike fixture activity as they now have only five days left in February to complete early-March loadings.
A separate source pegged remaining cargoes for loading between March 1-10 at 15, compared to some 15 to 18 available VLCCs at present.
This could be advantageous to owners as not all available tonnage is automatically suitable for every fixture, given certain requirements on the part of the charterers.