Clarksons Research Services has found the average speed of the fleet has increased in the last six months, against the trend of other sectors
As freight rates fall and earnings diminish, one of the quickest ways to save on operating expenses is to reduce the main expense – fuel consumption – by slowing down.
Judging the near-term utilisation of the fleet was a laborious affair but the introduction of AIS data analysis has sped up the process.
According to Clarkson Research Services (CRS), in the first six months of 2020, the average speed of the whole deepsea cargo fleet fell by 1.4% compared to the same period in 2019. CRS measures speed during steaming time and excludes port congestion storage, lay-up and idle tankers.
The tanker sector has been bucking the general trend. Crude tanker average speeds were up by 0.5% in 2019, accelerating noticeably during the spike in Q3 2019. The Q2 2020 spike in earnings also saw another acceleration in speeds by 0.9%.
CRS notes that in May-June 2020 the crude tanker sector average speed fell back to 11.7 knot (down 0.1% versus the period January to April 2020).
In the product tanker sector average speeds decreased by 0.5% in 2019. The spike in rates in H1 2020 has maintained the average speed, noted CRS.
Over the longer term, the change in overall fleet’s average speed is even more dramatic. The CRS World Fleet Average Speed Index has a base of 100 in 2008. The 2019 index is 16% lower than in 2008, with some sectors showing a dramatic slowdown in speed.
Tankers have not been immune. The CRS crude tanker fleet average speed index is currently 82.1 versus 100 in 2008. The CRS product tanker fleet average speed index is currently 77.8 versus the 2008 base of 100.
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