Maritime CEO Forum: Tanker market views split down the middle

Tanker market views were split down the middle at today’s Maritime CEO Forum held at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore.

Moderator Tim Huxley from Mandarin Shipping kicked off proceedings noting of the mixed sentiment: “A time of contrasting opinions is always an opportunity for someone.”

Lars Malmbratt, general manager of Stena Bulk Singapore, was not too optimistic about immediate prospects telling the high calibre audience: “I’m afraid I have to take a negative view for the next one or two years. Don’t invest in tankers that is the answer for how to get our feet back on the ground,” Malbratt said, pleading fellow owners to give time to let the market balance and try to make cycles longer.

While Michael Elwert, CEO of Elektrans Group, was cautiously optimistic for the products sector in a couple of years’ time, he was less so when it came to crude.

“As shipowners you have to be eternal optimists,” quipped Alan Hatton, managing director of Foreguard Shipping. He saw some hope for stainless steel chemical tankers, but like Malmbratt he stressed it was important owners held off ordering new ships. “Values going forward certainly cheap,” he said, adding: “Secondhand opportunities look quite attractive.”

Frans van de Bospoort, managing director of ship finance in the eastern hemisphere for DVB Bank, warned that a stress test carried out across DVB’s entire portfolio showed tankers as the weakest tanker sector. Crude tankers will take at least two years to recover, van de Bospoort reckoned.

A full report of the tanker session of the Maritime CEO Forum will be carried in the next issue of Maritime CEO magazine.

Maritime CEO Forum was sponsored by Cobham, Compas, Dualog, DVB Bank, Liberian Registry, Marlink, OSM Group, ShipServ, Veritas Petroleum Services and Wartsila.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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