Tankers surge as Fredriksen pounces

Tanker fortunes are changing – swinging to profits just as the sector’s most famous tycoon, John Fredriksen, makes one of his most audacious takeover bids.

The key TD3 VLCC route linking the Middle East with China finally turned profitable yesterday. Hours later Fredriksen’s Frontline ensured he was today’s talk of the town at Nor-Shipping in Oslo with a Euronav merger announcement this morning.

Fearnleys described the week in VLCCs as one where the pendulum has swung firmly in owners’ favour.

“The Afra and Suez market had been enjoying a bump for some time, but the trickle up has finally reached VL owners’ pockets as economy of scale kicked in,” Fearnleys stated in its most recent weekly report, going on to predict: “With the change in trading patterns and increased ton-mile, it’s starting to look like a paradigm shift.”

A combination of a shorter tonnage list and a healthy injection of fresh cargoes in the Atlantic boosted sentiment at the start of the week, something that then spread into other regions.

Analysts at rival Norwegian broker Lorentzen & Co stated today that the tanker market – in the doldrums for the past year – is now displaying a “real tour de force”.

For product tankers, this is showing up in “absolutely rocking figures” for the TC14 between the US Gulf to the European Continent, Lorentzen & Co stated while in the crude oil segment, the suezmax and aframax markets continue to soar.

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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