Chemical carrier companies need to focus on their own complex trades to avoid competition with product tanker “swing tonnage”, according to Niels Stolt-Nielsen.

Rates in the sector have improved markedly this year, helped by clean tanker owners switching ships out of chemical trades to chase higher rates in their own oil markets.

The Stolt-Nielsen chief executive told a conference call that product carriers have been moving less toxic “easy” chemicals, which is not the business his Stolt Tankers unit focuses on.