Clearlake, the wholly owned shipping arm of the Gunvor Group, has taken a newly built VLCC on time charter of up to six months, which may be used to move gasoil in its maiden voyage, according to market pricing service Platts.
This pre-IMO 2020 global marine sulphur cap strategy using large tanker newbuildings was remarked upon by Dr Adam Kent at the Marine Money 10th Anniversary London Forum and the subject of last week’s Tanker Shipping & Trade comment.
The pricing service noted that another six VLCCs had been engaged by traders for similar voyages west from Asia and four Suezmax newbuildings were reported on similar business.
The advantage of using large tankers to ship gasoil is the significant advantages in the economies of scale, lowering the freight per tonne and opening up arbitrage between east and west.
Normally a large tanker such as a VLCC or Suezmax without coated tanks would require expensive tank cleaning before carrying a non-crude oil cargo.
Furthermore, an oil products voyage for a large tanker newbuilding would be a positioning voyage for a subsequent crude oil delivery from the Middle East, West Africa or another source, to a refinery in the east.
Earlier this year Platts reported there was a shortage of high sulphur marine fuel oil in Singapore and 2011-built VLCC Nave Buena Surte had been fixed to load a high sulphur cargo in Rotterdam for discharge in Singapore.
What is the impact on the product tanker trade from the large crude tanker newbuildings swinging into the product tanker trade? Find out at the Asian Tanker Conference in Singapore.