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STRONG SEASON LIFTS CRUDE OIL TANKERS

From a crude oil market perspective, 2016 can be summed up as “eventful”. In January, the international sanctions on Iran were lifted, resulting in a very swift increase of their oil production capacities and subsequent re-entry into the global oil export market.

Seasonality has certainly been a friend of crude oil tanker owners during Q4. Since global refining crude throughput bottomed out in October due to regular annual maintenance, the demand for crude oil tankers has been high.

After sliding most of the year, with suezmax earnings falling below USD 5,000 per day in August and VLCC earnings dropping to USD 15,000 per day by the second half of September, a strong comeback came as a bonus after a run of strong earnings ended. Stock piling of oil benefits the tanker market, and a reversal will certainly harm it.

SHIPBUILDERS CONTINUE TO FACE DRAWN-OUT SLUMP

South Korean shipbuilders, led by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., secured only three shipbuilding deals in January, valued at a combined 2 trillion won (US$1.72 billion), heralding another tough year lying ahead for them, source said on Wednesday. Samsung Heavy Industries Co. clinched two deals last month, valued at 1.77 trillion won, to build an offshore facility and a floating storage and regasification ship.

ASIA-EUROPE CONTAINERS RATE DECLINES

Spot rates for shipping containers from Asia to northern Europe fell one per cent to US$1,041 per TEU in the week ending on Friday.

Asia-Mediterranean trade slipped 1.8 per cent to $986 per TEU. Asia to the US west coast fell three percent week-over-week to $2,106 per FEU while those to the east coast down 0.2 percent to $3,637 per FEU.

 

WAF VLCC FREIGHT RATES HIT BY WEAK PERSIAN GULF DESPITE STRONG DEMAND

Rates for VLCCs in West Africa have fallen because of weakness in the Persian Gulf market and despite strong demand for February loading dates amid a bust of buying of the region’s heavy crudes by Asian refiners.

Persian Gulf demand has been hit by OPEC’s agreed cut in crude output. There have already been 33 VLCC stems fixed out of West Africa for February with more stems left to go, compared with 35 for all of January.

February 10-20 dates in particular have seen 19 cargoes fixed against 12 in the same period last month. March stems have not been seen being worked in the market but demand was expected to be high.

OLD SHIPS, NOT SUFFICIENT NEW TRICKS?

As widely expected, the opening of the new, expanded locks at the Panama Canal in June 2016 has considerably impacted the ‘old Panamax’ containership sector.

The displacement of these narrow beam vessels, resulting from the upsizing of services through the canal, has driven a change in deployment patterns in this sector and also contributed to a record level of containership demolition. Panama Canal allow 16.7m TEU of current fleet capacity to transit, compared to just 7.2m TEU which is able to transit the old locks.

PORT OF VIRGINIA SETS CONTAINER RECORD, VOLUME UP 4.2PC

The Port of Virginia set a new container throughput record in 2016, after handling 2.65 million TEU, an increase of 4.2 percent year on year, with imports up six per cent and exports rising 2.6 percent.

The Richmond Marine Terminal experienced its most productive year since the Virginia Port Authority began leasing the facility in 2010, and volumes were also up at the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal, reported American Shipper.

In 2016, we moved 106,000 more TEU than we did in 2015, which until now, was our highest volume year on record. The growth is significant – 8,800 TEU a month, on average – and we have responded with improved throughput in all facets of the operation, especially rail, where volume was 551,496 containers, an increase of 14 percent when compared with 2015.

SOUTH KOREA’S SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY TO LOSE 27,000 JOBS

The South Korean shipbuilding industry is forecast to lose 27,000 jobs in the first half of this year from a year ago while other major industries are likely to maintain the number of jobs, source said on Tuesday.

Construction, automobile, machinery, electronics, semiconductor and finance service and insurance industries, on the other hand, are expected to add a combined 38,000 jobs from a year ago, the joint report by the Korea Employment Information Service and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology showed.

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