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Overcapacity in tanker market

Overcapacity in tanker market
Maersk believes that the problem of tonnage oversupply will not go away any time soon.

Maersk believes that the problem of tonnage oversupply will not go away any time soon.

The head of one of the world's leading shipping companies believes that the problem of tonnage oversupply will not go away any time soon. ?Overcapacity in the tanker and container markets will continue for some time. It will be several years,? A.P. Moller-Maersk CEO Nils Smedegaard Andersen told. Andersen's warnings echo recent analysis by London brokers Gibson, which said weaker demand for seaborne oil transportation was not the only reason for falling freight rates.

According to Gibson, growth in the world's total tanker fleet more than doubled in the first three months of this year (Q1) compared to the same period last year.

It said the world's total tanker fleet grew by 3% in Q1 this year in a rapidly weakening market compared to net growth of 1.4% in Q1 2008 in a strong and rising market.

Looking ahead Gibson expects that fleet numbers ?will only continue to rise, although an expected increase in scrapping and order cancellations will help to mitigate the problem of oversupply.?

Andersen's forecast of several more years of overcapacity spells trouble for Maersk Tankers which in January completed the acquisition of Swedish product tanker specialist Brostrom Tankers AB., making it the world's largest product tanker owner and operator.

Brostrom's fleet of 94 product tankers has boosted Maersk's representation in that category to more than 130 vessels.

Maersk Tankers now reportedly operates 180 vessels, including crude oil tankers and gas carriers in addition to its product tankers.

Including gas carriers, Maersk Tankers has 51 newbuildings on order, comprising 23 owned and 28 chartered-in vessels, reports said.

This is a third of the 150 new ships, rigs and tugs that AP Moller-Maersk has on order for delivery during the next four or five years with a total contract value of about $10 billion, reports added.

?This acquisition might turn out to be a mini disaster for Maersk much like 2005's buy-out of P&O Nedlloyd,? an industry player told.

?Although to be fair to Andersen the P&O Nedlloyd acquisition took place while he was still the CEO at Carlsberg,? the source added.


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