Shipowners need to turn information on the behaviour of charterers to their own advantage if they are to lift freight rates, says Intertanko.
November 30th, 1995 23:00 GMT
by By Geoff Garfield
Published in WEEKLY
Charterers have the advantage of various tools to manipulate the market,
notably by concealing demand through private fixing, and adjusting
their programs according to tonnage availability.
The international tanker owners’ organization warns its members that
charterers can also give the impression that supply has increased by
suddenly making relets available, fixing further forward, and
expressing an interest in tankers they do not really want.
“These are of course psychological rather than fundamental supply and
demand factors, but nevertheless, at times they seem to have a
considerable impact on rates,” says Intertanko in its latest tanker
market report to be published today (December 1).
The organization says better information on charterers – including
actual need for a special size or standard of vessel – coupled with a
refusal to allow forward fixing to confuse the market, may be
sufficient to bolster rates.
“We see the need to improve accessibility of information on charterers’
fixing patterns and behaviour in the market,” Intertanko research
manager Erik Ranheim tells TradeWinds, adding: “The focus today is
mainly on the tanker and its owner, whereas too little is known about
the needs of the charterers.”
Intertanko cites one leading broker as saying that brokers continue to
persuade owners to fix at the first opportunity.
The Oslo-based organization says that majors such as Exxon, Chevron,
Shell and Mobil still have sufficient fleets, including period
charters, to influence the market in their favour.
The issue was also taken up this week by Geneva-based broker Riaz Khan
of Marinav Shipping and Trading, who is pushing for an information
exchange, “possibly within an organization like Intertanko.” In the
proposed exchange, brokers and owners would report deals in which they
are directly involved. The source would remain confidential.
Khan says the time has come for owners to have accurate, up-to-date
information on potential cargoes, the position of ships, and what
vessels have been fixed for lifting’s in future months, rather than
relying on what is happening in the market day to day.
“What owners should concentrate on is what has happened during the year,
what tonnage is available, and what cargoes are left,” says Khan.
“Analyze it before taking a position in the market.”
Khan, who insists that his suggestion for an information exchange should
be seen as leveling the playing field rather than a confrontation with
charterers, says a classic situation arose earlier this year in the
Middle East Gulf when Worldscale rates fell despite fixture levels