VLCCs skirt with all-time lows

The miserable start of the year for many big ship types such as capes and VLCCs could set records today.

VLCC rates for vintage, non-scrubber ships on the key Arabian Gulf to China route fell 25% yesterday to $-6,556 per day, according to the Baltic Exchange, putting them on course to breach the all-time low of $-6,779 which was achieved last March.

“Owners are certainly not helped by bunker prices, with Brent at an eight year high, prices are up close to the USD 700/mt in Singapore, making voyage calculations a harrowing experience,” brokers Fearnleys pointed out in its most recent weekly report.

“Fundamentals continue to come under pressure with tonnage lists being far too ample,” rival broker BRS noted this week.

In dry bulk, meanwhile, capes have got off to a dire start to the year – as is common in January – with today tipped to be the day they dip below the $10,000 per day mark on the Baltic’s 5TC index.

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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