Suez Canal Crisis Revives Fortunes of Hard-Hit Tanker Owners

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It’s taken a maritime crisis to offer hard-hit oil tanker owners an unexpected reprieve, although the relief is expected to be short-lived.

Shippers have been making losses on the delivery of cargoes since the start of February after OPEC+ cut output and exports, while the number of available ships swelled. The Suez Canal mishap is lifting vessel rates across the board, including a Middle East-to-China route, which is unaffected by the blockage.

Earnings for supertankers were at $626 a day Wednesday, flipping to a profit for the first time since Feb. 2, after shippers were hit with daily losses of more than $6,000 at times over the past two weeks, Baltic Exchange data show.

Suez Canal Crisis Revives Fortunes of Hard-Hit Tanker Owners

The blockage will “only be short-term positive,” said Rahul Kapoor, global head of maritime analytics and research at IHS Markit. “The key for any meaningful recovery in the tanker market hinges on increasing OPEC oil production and global exports. No signs of that are imminent.”

See also: Shut Suez Means Around 2M B/d of Oil Flows Are Halted: Braemar

The Suez Canal is a crucial artery for crude flows from the Middle East to Europe and the U.S., and oil products such as fuel oil to Asia, with the blockage yet to cause any re-routing of cargoes. However, there has been some interest from companies looking to book tankers with options to avoid the canal, according to Fearnleys.

If the blockage is prolonged, Very Large Crude Carriers would be preferred over the smaller Suezmax and Aframax vessels to sail around South Africa, taking the longer route via the Cape of Good Hope, Braemar ACM Shipbroking Pte said in a note.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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