In November, tanker spot freight rates for dirty vessels mostly maintained the gains achieved in the previous month, as seasonal tonnage demand strengthened. Nevertheless, dirty spot freight rates showed a decline of WS8 points on average from the previous month. The drop in the average spot freight rates came on the back of lower rates registered in the Aframax class, which closed the month with freight rates down from the previous month by WS20 points. The VLCC market was mostly balanced and freight rates were supported by end of December requirements, with increased port delays at Asian ports further helping to maintain rates. Similarly, the Suezmax class maintained its spot freight rates at similar levels of the previous month with weather delays in different areas supporting Suezmax rates and preventing them from dropping, despite increasing vessel supply. Aframax freight rates dropped on average; this was driven by low tonnage demand and depressed activity in many areas. Clean spot freight rates were mostly stable in November, on the back of limited requirements and low market activities in both the East and West of Suez.
In November, OPEC spot fixtures were up by 4.1% from the previous month to average 11.24 mb/d, according to preliminary data. The increase came as all spot fixtures increased in different areas. Fixtures from the Middle East-to-East rose by 0.25 mb/d in November to average 5.67 mb/d. the Middle East-to-West and outside Middle East fixtures both increased by 3.8% and 3.6%, respectively, to stand at 2.04 mb/d and 3.53 mb/d.
Sailings and arrivals
OPEC sailings increased by 0.30 mb/d, or 1.3%, in November to stand at 23.98 mb/d. At the same time Middle East sailings dropped by 0.18 mb/d, or 1.0%, over the previous month to average 16.93 mb/d. Crude oil arrivals were higher in most regions in November. Arrivals at North American, European and West Asian ports rose by 0.8%, 0.8% and 1.5%, respectively, compared with the previous month. However, Arrivals in Far Eastern ports were the only exception, showing a decline by 0.5%.
In the dirty market, VLCC spot freight rates held the gains achieved in the previous month. In November, VLCC average spot freight rates stood at WS55 points, flat from one month before. The VLCC market had strong start with sentiment strengthening as supported by the third decade chartering requirements and port delays in Asia. Tonnage demand in November favoured older ships as modern vessels showed higher cost with higher rates. The chartering market was quiet in the North Sea and the Caribbean, however the general optimism related to winter requirements maintained rates at last done levels. Generally, spot freight rates on most routes were broadly unchanged from one month before. VLCC Middle East-to-East spot freight rates decreased slightly in November to WS67 points. Freight rates registered for tankers trading on the Middle East-to-West route remained stable at WS28 points. The VLCC spot freight rate on the West Africa-to-East route edged up by WS1 point m-o-m to average WS69 points.
In November, average Suezmax spot freight rates also showed no changes in the dirty market, similar to the VLCC sector, on average maintaining the gain achieved one month before to stand at WS70 points. Suezmax rates were pressured in early November as activity in West Africa slowed leading to an increase in vessel offerings. Reduced weather delays affected rates further in the Black Sea and Mediterranean, however an increase in delays in the Black Sea helped to recover some of rates losses seen earlier in the month, followed by firmer sentiment as a result of increased loadings in the East leading to a balancing of market fundamentals. Consequently, spot freight rates for tankers operating on the West Africa-to-USGC route were flat in November to stand at WS79 points, while rates on the Northwest Europe (NWE)-to-USGC route showed a minor average gain by WS2 points to stand at WS62 points.
Unlike freight rate developments in the bigger vessels, average Aframax spot freight rates declined on all major reported routes from one month before. Average Aframax spot freight rates showed a drop in November by WS20 points, to stand at WS107 points. In the Baltic and North Sea, Aframax rates experienced a gradual decline at the beginning of the month as the tonnage list widened on the back of slim activity in the market. The weak sentiment for this class was also seen in the Mediterranean and Black Sea tonnage market. Delays in the Turkish straits remained within the average transit time and port maintenance in several ports did not grant any higher rates to Aframax in November. Consequently, spot freight rates on the Mediterranean-to-Mediterranean and Mediterranean-toNWE Europe routes were the main contributors to the average rate decline. Both routes reflected lower rates by WS33 points and WS34 points, respectively, from one month before to stand at WS102 points and WS99 points. Freight rates on both routes show a drop in November from the same month a year before. Spot freight rates for Aframax operating on the Caribbean-to-USEC route dropped to a lesser extent, down by WS8 points from one month earlier to stand at WS117 points. Similarly, spot freight rates for tankers trading on the Indonesia-to-East routes showed a minor decline by WS3 points to stand at WS110 points.
Source: Hellenic Shipping News.