Despite the recovery in oil tanker freight rates, a ship broker has cautioned shipowners against rushing to build new ships.
After ending 2014 at a positive note, the oil tanker market has continued its strong performance in the first quarter of 2015, noted Banchero Costa.
IHS Maritime’s Sea-web.com data show that year to date, 46 oil tankers have been ordered. Of these, there are 11 VLCCs, 21 Suezmaxes, and 14 Aframaxes.
This takes the outstanding orderbook to 279 oil tankers.
The collapse in oil prices has generated demand for tankers for floating storage. Oil trade has also been going up.
VLCC rates on the benchmark TD3 route (Gulf-Asia Pacific) averaged USD61,585/day in the first quarter of 2015, an impressive 128% year on year (y/y) increase over the same period in 2014.
Suezmax rates on TD6 (Black Sea-Mediterranean) averaged USD55,220/day in the first quarter of 2015, up from USD32,578/day y/y. Aframax rates on TD7 (North Sea-Continent) increased to USD34,801/day from USD31,757/day y/y.
Newbuilding prices and secondhand values also jumped with the market, with the value of a five-year old VLCC increasing by almost 50% in the past 12 months.
Market fundamentals have improved as newbuilding deliveries have declined and demolitions in 2014 remained at healthy levels, especially for Aframaxes and Suezmaxes.
In the first three months of 2015, a reported 18 vessels have been delivered for a total of 2.7 million dwt, an increase of 22% y/y. These vessels include four VLCCs (1.02 million dwt), three Suezmaxes (470,000 dwt), nine coated Aframaxes (1.01 million dwt), and two non-coated Aframaxes (220,000 dwt).
The strong freight market has given shipowners little incentive to scrap tankers. So far, just one VLCC and two Aframaxes totaling 600,000 dwt have been scrapped.
Banchero Costa said, “On top of this we have good news on the demand side, with the oil market well supplied, OPEC refusing to cut output, oil prices remaining fairly low should encourage consumption.
“Whilst 2015 should be a good year, do keep in mind that we now have at least 29 million dwt on order to be delivered in 2016, the second most deliveries after 2011.”
The ship broker expected the fleet growth to reach 3.2% in 2015 and 6.3% in 2016, but cautioned that “the orderbook could get worse, considering the rush to yards we are seeing. Therefore, the next few months should be interesting, but 2016 could be more challenging”.