Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation (CSET) has reportedly secured period cover for two of its VLCCs, taking advantage of renewed optimism for the vessel class.
CSET has fixed the 308,300-dwt Xin Long Yang (built 2017) to ExxonMobil for three years at $32,000 per day, according to brokers. The tanker was ordered at Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co in 2014 for $95m.
ExxonMobil and CSET did not reply to requests for comment.
Brokers also reported that Trafigura has taken the 308,000-dwt Cosdignity Lake (built 2017) from CSET for at least six months at $30,000 per day, with an option for a three-month extension.
TradeWinds reported last week that Koch Industries had fixed the 310,000-det New Melody (built 2019) from China VLCC for a year at $30,000 per day. Neither the charterer nor the owner commented on that deal.
Chinese state owners have returned to the time charter market at a time when the VLCC spot market has been strong despite seasonal demand weakness.
Clarksons assessed the one-year VLCC rate at $30,500 per day as of last Friday, up from the mid-February level of $24,500 per day.
The recovery has been in line with firm counter-seasonal spot earnings, as shipowners have been able to ride on high US crude exports despite the refinery maintenance season and low Middle Eastern supply, according to some market participants.
Experienced European tanker brokers confirmed that international charterers have a large appetite for Chinese-controlled VLCCs, particularly those owned by CSET and China VLCC.
The strained relations between China and the US appear to have had little impact on the chartering activities of the two countries’ VLCC players.
“Both the ships and the operation are good. We have some on charter now and it works well,” one broker said.