Tanker cycle looks like it is two years behind dry bulk

The crude tanker shipping cycle increasingly looks like it is two years behind dry bulk.

The crude tanker market has been suffering some of its worst ever times with earnings across all size groups at very depressed levels this year

A report from BIMCO at the start of May showed that VLCC spot earnings slumped to record lows of just $6,000 a day for the first four months of the year, while Allied Shipbroking reported three weeks ago that VLCCs have been making an average loss of $2,100 a day this year.

In the last couple of weeks however rates have flattened out while scrapping continues apace.

It was in early 2016 that dry bulk hit its absolute nadir, resulting in huge volumes of bulkers being scrapped that year.

Clarkson is reporting in its latest weekly report that tanker scrappings are on course for record volumes in 2018.

However, the difference between dry bulk bottoming out two years ago and the current predicament faced by tanker owners is that tanker newbuild orders are still being signed whereas in 2016 bulker owners held back from adding to the pain.

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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