February 24th, 2000 23:00 GMT
Published in WEEKLY
CHINA´s economy is having a growing impact on the VLCC and steel trades, according to brokers. Geneva-based Riaz Khan has noticed the growing popularity of VLCCs in the Chinese market since last August, and expects the trend to continue in March with another four or five charters anticipated.
Khan estimates some 50 VLCCs were chartered for Chinese-bound cargoes last year.
This year has started well for VLCCs, with Khan logging an average of nine charters in both January and February.
China´s pending entry into the WTO is whetting appetites at Simpson, Spence & Young (SSY).
Steel imports have been increasing since 1998 and further demand for shipping will likely be stimulated by a requirement on China to drop tariffs to gain full entry to the WTO.
“The percentage increase in iron ore imports would be more likely to rise than fall,” said SSY.
Meanwhile, the fall-out from the sinking of the Erika rumbles on, with Lorentzen and Stemoco (L&S) applauding the tough line being taken by some tanker owners .
“Having finally clawed back from the precipice, owners of Aframax and Suezmax tankers have finally been able to harvest some hard-earned cash after years of misery. Capitalising on the fearful climate still persisting, they have recently been taking media-averse companies to the cleaners.”
“Some owners have been waiting for years for this opportunity – finally a great chance to hit back at the oil companies,” said L&S. “The fact that owners for the last 10 years have been told by oil companies to go and order new ships, while the companies continue to use old tonnage, has caused many owners to think of oil company charterers as hypocrits.
“While we are pleased to learn that some owners can recover part of their huge losses for the time being, we hope that politicians will abstain from inventing schemes that will only serve to cause another round of premature ordering.”
By John Landells