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VLCC Tankers Prime Candidates for Scrapping

The rumor mill has stalled things at the demolition market for ships, with Pakistan seemingly ready to reopen its import market for tankers. In any case though, weak freight rates and increased tonnage availability, mean that VLCC tonnage is looking like prime candidates for scrapping.

On the back of this development, Clarkson Platou Hellas said in its latest weekly report that “as Chinese New Year came and we entered the “Year of the Dog”, the market is still consumed with the rumour from cash buyers on the back of the anticipated re-opening of Pakistan importing tankers, however no clear evidence to support this has been seen and so we may just wait and see if this speculation is rewarded. Despite the holidays in the Far East, there were still some large units to whet cash buyers appetite resulting in some very firm numbers as can be seen below. This has helped the market in some way as only last week, there was confusion as to where we were due to the disparity in numbers from cash buyers and the global stock price volatility experienced.

Therefore the resale value is critical for units committed this week, so it will be interesting to see the levels achieved at the water front for the recent sales and whether cash buyers rates were mad or justified. With the continued weakening freight markets for VLCC’s, it seems the list of potential candidates grows by the week as owners start to face the harsh reality of the market conditions. It is also important for the committed sellers of such units to understand the difficulties involved as well as the limited number of yards available to take such units, hence the lower price that Cash Buyers can offer for the larger wet tonnage”, the shipbroker concluded.

In a separate note, GMS, the world’s leading cash buyer said that “on the back of a meeting between the Pakistan Ship Breakers Association (PSBA) and local authorities, ongoing rumors surrounding a potential Pakistan re-opening for tankers within the next month began to further intensify. The news may well be greeted with the usual degree of outlandish Cash Buyer speculation that we have frequently seen through the course of the recent past. However, the reality is that Pakistan is a market that too has softened in recent weeks and an influx of tanker candidates is hardly going to help in boosting levels from Gadani Buyers. That being said, Sinokor of South Korea continued their clear-out of older tonnage with the sales of a Capesize bulker (a highly sought after and rare breed of vessels these days) in addition to an Aframax tanker, at some unsurprisingly bullish numbers.

Moreover, given the spate of fixtures through 2018, there was of course, another VLCC concluded on private terms this week, to swell the growing ranks of unsold tonnage out there, and perhaps another sign that Cash Buyer confidence on a Pakistan reopening may be well-founded. Meanwhile, pricing has remained stagnant for several weeks now, with marginal declines witnessed in both India & Pakistan and Bangladesh just about holding onto their levels, through what has been an overall underwhelming start to the year for Chittagong buyers. Finally, Chinese New Year holidays have certainly interrupted the flow of deals and deliveries (as minimal as they have been) this week and it may be a stilted week ahead as people slowly drift back to work from their various holidays”, GMS concluded.

Meanwhile, Allied Shipbroking added that it was “a fairly slow week in the market, with less than a handful of larger size vessels being sent to be beached. The majority of these were in the Tanker space, with a couple of vintage ladies having been let go at relatively low numbers compared to the firm figures being seen for dry bulkers and container vessels of late. As a direct comparison, you could take the sale of the only dry bulk vessel being sold to breakers this past week, which managed to receive a significantly higher price than any of the tanker vessels sold, reflecting both the preference and higher competition noted for these vessels right now. Overall prices are still holding firm and are looking to be able to sustain these levels for a while longer, with most market fundamentals still providing fair support, while competition amongst breakers continues to be high as the number of demo candidates, especially on the large sizes, remains tight”.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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