Panamax tankers are the "weapon of choice"for ship owners this year.
Which tanker ship type will be most in demand during 2010? With 3,202 answers coming in, the Panamax tanker sector proved to be the most popular among readers, as 34.9% or 1,118 showed their preference. In second place came the Suezmax tankers with 27.1% or 868 votes, while the ever so popular VLCC came in third with a total of 729 votes of confidence or 22.8% of the total. Strangely enough the product tanker sector didn"t receive as much votes, with 366 for the MR tankers and just 121 for the LR one.
The popularity of the Panamax tanker can be attributed to the fact that the outstanding orderbook remains quite low, in comparison with other crude oil transporting tanker types. In particular, according to recent figures by shipbrokers Allied Shipbroking, during 2010 an expected 36 panamaxes are believed to enter the global fleet this year. On the contrary, the aframax sector will be burdened by 95 newbuilding vessels, the VLCC market with 87 new ships, the suezmax with a total of 61 newcomers, while the product tanker markets are expecting an additional 524 vessels. As a whole, the tanker market will receive an aggregate of 803 tankers this year, of a total capacity of 66 million tons, while for 2011 an estimated 442 vessels should hit the water, with another 78 scheduled for 2012.
Meanwhile, during the whole of 2009 a total of 572 newbuilding tankers were delivered to their respective owners, bearing a carrying capacity of 47.8 million tons. at the same time, Allied Shipbroking estimates that 138 tankers were sold for scrap last year. They were of a total capacity of 38.6 million tons.
Many analysts are downplaying the scenario of a potential oversupply of a tanker market, mainly thanks to the abolition of single hull vessels in most of the world"s seas, beginning this year, but also because of an expected rebound of oil production (especially from the non-OPEC countries). As a result, JP Morgan expects tanker rates for VLCCs to reach an average of $38,000. It was an upwards revision of earlier predictions from the investment bank. The same revision was applied for the Suezmaxes, which are expected to reach a daily average rate of $34,000, up from $30,000, while for the Panamaxes the average now stands at $15,000. Similarly, for Aframaxes rates are thought to reach $18,000 (from $17,000).
Nevertheless, JP Morgan expects market conditions to be even more positive during 2011, as the world economy will be heading into a faster recovery path, with less fragility. This puts projections for VLCCs at $45,000 per day, for Suezmaxes at $40,000, Aframaxes at $21,000, Panamaxes at $17,500 and Handymaxes at $14,000.
During this month (February) the Hellenic Shipping News poll asks you about the best kind of ship investment one could undertake in today"s dry bulk market. The options available are mainly three, a newbuilding order, a vessel from the second hand market, or the purchase of a resale newbuilding contract, which is something in between the first two options, as the vessel can be delivered at a shorter period of time, compared to a new order, but it comes at a higher price. Let us know of your opinion and read the results in next month"s story.