Shell charters aframax.
ONE of the world"s largest tanker charterers, Shell, has taken an aframax tanker for three years at a rate of $19,250 per day.
Ownership of the 113,000 dwt tanker, Golden Destiny , is unclear as the vessel does not appear under that name in shipping databases, but brokers" reports suggest it will be delivered in 2010.
There have been only two reports of aframaxes time chartered in 2010, with Brazil oil shipping arm Petrobras taking the 2009-built, 105,00 dwt Ohio for $18,200 in January.
However, Shell"s rate is slightly lower than the 2009 average rate for a three-year charter of modern aframax tonnage priced at $20,700, according to the Clarkson Research Services database.
Delays boost tankers
PORT congestion and delays that helped buoy depressed market conditions for tankers in 2009 are forecast to continue in 2010, writes Michelle Wiese Bockmann.
Last year, very large crude carriers spent an average of three days longer in ports than in 2007, stripping on average 24 VLCCs from the supply of tonnage, according to New York-based tanker consultancy McQuilling Services.
Analysis showed that for every additional day tankers were delayed at ports, tonnage supply was also reduced by the equivalent of 10 suezmax or 24 aframax, six panamax or 14 medium range tankers.
Floating storage, increased oil demand, port dredging in Europe and port infrastructure challenges in China would all play a role in keeping congestion and delays at 2009 levels, the report found.
In 2007, the global tanker fleet spent an average 3.2 days in each port, according to McQuilling, which increased to 3.8 days in 2008 and four days by 2009.
Rising port time from 2007-2008 was attributed to socio-economic turbulence, bad weather and insufficient port infrastructure. But other factors caused delays in 2009, including ?the fast-paced expansion of the tanker fleet amidst a lagging increase to port capacity?.
?Several infrastructure improvements were delayed or cancelled as a result of reduced financing availability as well as narrowing profit margins for operators,? the report said.
?Additionally, 2009 saw numerous cases of delayed discharge orders issued by oil companies seeking to take advantage of contango oil market conditions.?
Suezmax port delays fell as the improved political climate in West Africa ended port disruptions. Middle East Gulf port congestion remained at the same level as 2008, while tankers in the Far East ?were frequently subject to chronic port delay and congestion resulting from China"s ever-growing oil demand amidst lagging port developments.?
Japan mulls steel contracts
THE world"s largest coking coal producer, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, has asked Japanese steel mills to accept quarterly contracts which could shift the pricing index from annual contracts, reports Reuters.
BMA has offered to sell coal to Japanese steel mills at $180 per tonne, compared with $200 a tonne for annual contracts, two coking coal traders said.
Japanese steel mills are expected to resist the proposal because it comes at a time of rising prices and conflicts with sales practices with key customers.