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Wednesday, 25 July 18
TANKER MARKET INSIGHT - DIMITRIS KOURTESIS
IntermodalWe are now into the second half of 2018, which so far has not been a fruitful year for tankers. With 2020 quickly approaching we need to consider the implications arising from the new fuel directives. 2020 seems to be the year that there will be a noticeable increase in the cost of moving cargo, with the forces driving costs upwards being either scrubbers and/or the increased demand for cleaner fuels.
 
The need for cleaner fuels will not only boost demand for product tankers though. Given the much higher crude oil quantities the production of these cleaner fuels requires compared to HFO, a boost in crude oil demand and a consequent support on crude tanker freight rates appears to also be in the cards.
 
The increase in fuel costs will definitely increase revenues but not profits. Therefore small owners with older, less efficient units, not capable of installing scrubbers, will be forced to either merge with larger companies, who have the cash flow to support financing, or in some cases will have to sell/ scrap and exit the industry. This filtering process will separate companies that managed to evolve and endure through the cycle and concurrently will correct the oversupply of tonnage, which drives rates in some cases well below their operating expenses today. 
 
Vessels equipped with scrubbers or eco units will have a competitive advantage and owners will be able to fix periods at levels including a premium, as charterers will prefer to charter compliant and fuel efficient units. The market right now for a 1 year time charter, medium range non eco / non scrubber equipped tanker trading in clean petroleum products is around USD 13,000 per day. On the other hand, an eco/scrubber equipped unit would get approximately USD 14,500 - 15,000 per day for the same period. 
 
We can identify that the difference of USD 1,500 - 2,000 per day is the premium charterers are paying in order to be 2020 compliant and have efficient units under their time charter. Apart from Ship owners/operators and charterers, it's also quite interesting to see how modern refineries are getting prepared for these changes. According to HSBC's research on IMO 2020, four of the most technically advanced refineries, S-oil, SK Innovation, Reliance Industries and Repsol are further upgrading and investing in their plants. They target to eliminate their HFO production by early to mid-2020. Specifically, SKI will focus on refining only very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). The goal of these refineries is to find themselves in a position where, come 2020, they have substantially decreased– or even better entirely eliminated – the production of HFO.
 
Mr. T. Veniamis on behalf of the Union of Greek Ship Owners, stated that Greek ship owners are working hard to comply with the 2020 requirements (0.5% sulfur cap). He also stressed the importance that these cleaner fuels are – aside from compliant – also safe for both the crew and the ship itself. To conclude, the general sentiment particularly for Owners with units up to MR size without scrubbers, is to patiently wait and plan day by day, as the investment of installing scrubbers on older units may not make financial sense given today’s fundamentals.
By Dimitris Kourtesis
Tanker Chartering Broker


Compiled by:
Intermodal Research & Valuations

Analysts:
Ms Eva Tzima

Disclaimer and legal disclosure: For any further queries please do not hesitate to contact our Research & Valuations Department. The information contained in this report has been obtained from various sources, as reported in the market. Intermodal Shipbrokers Co. believes such information to be factual and reliable without making guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness. Whilst every care has been taken in the production of the above review, no liability can be accepted for any loss or damage incurred in any way whatsoever by any person who may seek to rely on the information and views contained in this material. This report is being produced for the internal use of the intended recipients only and no reproducing is allowed, without the prior written authorization of Intermodal Shipbrokers Co.

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