Global spot fixtures declined by 6% in November compared to the previous month.
OPEC spot fixtures dropped as well in November, down by 8% compared to the
previous month. The decline was seen on all fixtures in comparison to a month earlier.
Middle East-to-East fixtures, Middle East-to-West and out of the Middle East fixtures all
declined by 7%, 19% and 1%, respectively.
OPEC and Middle East sailings in November dropped by 1.5% and 2%, respectively.
According to preliminary data, North America arrivals dropped by 4%, while arrivals in
the Far East, West Asia and Europe increased by 0.4%, 4% and 0.4%, respectively.
In November, both crude and product spot freight rates registered gains compared with
the previous month. This general positive trend has not been detected in the tanker
market in a while. Dirty tanker freight rates recovered in November, mainly on the back
of higher tonnage demand for Far East destinations. The VLCC market saw the
strongest activity during November with freight rates sharply increasing in different
regions. On average, VLCC freight rates increased by 40% from the previous month,
while Suezmax and Aframax registered lower increases of 18% and 5%, respectively.
Clean tanker spot freight rates gained 2% on average in November compared with the
previous month. East and West of Suez rates showed a different pattern. While West of
Suez rates showed an increase of 10% from the previous month as a result of a firmer
Western market, East of Suez rates remained weak. On an annual comparison, all
clean tanker freight rates showed a decline from a year ago.
For the VLCC sector, the market reported a constant increase during the month as
market activity increased. While vessel availability was the lowest seen for some time,
ship owners were capable of resisting lower freight rates as the market conditions were
in their favour.
Spot freight rates for tankers operating on the Middle East-to-East route registered the
highest increase among all reported routes. VLCC spot freight rates for tankers
operating on the Middle East-to-East route increased by WS19 or 46% in November
compared to the previous month. The increase was supported by higher Asian
Similarly, VLCC spot freight rates for tankers operating on the West Africa-to-East route
exhibited a worthy increase in November averaging WS58 points, up by WS16 points or
38% from a month ago. Winter seasonal demand from the West improved tonnage
demand and supported VLCC spot freight rates on the long-haul route from the Middle
East-to-West in November to average WS38, an increase of 36% from the previous
The general gain in VLCC freight rates supported ship owners’ margins while bunker
fuel prices declined in all major bunkering ports from a month ago. On average, VLCC
freight rates in November where 27% higher than the same month in 2012.
Suezmax spot freight rates also showed an increase in November, up by 18% from the
previous month to stand at WS53 points. Rates for tankers operating on the West
Africa-to-US route increased by 17% in November to stand at WS55 points, and rates
on the Northwest Europe-to-US route gained 19% to stand at WS51 points. The
increased freight rates came partially on the back of higher freight rates for VLCC as
some owners were considering splitting their cargoes, and partially as increased
demand has been seen for Suezmax in different regions.
Aframax market followed the same pattern as VLCC and Suezmax, however Aframax
gains remained minor. Aframax freight rates were flat at the beginning of the month as
activities were thin in the Mediterranean, however increased delays in the Turkish
straits, a flow of activity before the Thanksgiving holidays and bad weather in the
Caribbean all together supported freight rates during the month to some extent.
The healthiest increase in this segment was registered on spot freight rates for Aframax
trading on the Caribbean-to-US route as it increased by 10% from the previous month
to stand at WS102 points. Rates on the Indonesia-to-East route were up by 4% from
the previous month to average WS82 points. Spot freight rates for Aframax operating
on Mediterranean-to-Mediterranean and Mediterranean-to-Northwest Europe routes
registered the weakest gains of all reported routes. Compared with last month, the
Mediterranean-to-Mediterranean rates increased by 3% in November to stand at
WS72 points, and the Mediterranean-to-Northwest Europe rates increased by a slight
2% to stand at WS64 points.
Clean average spot freight rates gained 2% in November compared to the previous
month, backed mainly by a firmer market in the West-of-Suez where freight rates
registered a gain of 10% to average 113WS points. On the other hand, Clean spot
freight rates remained under pressure in the East-of-Suez.
The increase in West clean spot freight rates in November was supported by steady
diesel and jet fuel trading as well as delays in the Turkish Straits. Freight rates on the
Mediterranean-to-Mediterranean and Mediterranean-to-Northwest Europe routes
exhibited an increase of 11% each to stand at WS126 and WS136 points, respectively,
while the gains were lower on the Northwest Europe-to-US routes as its freight rates
increased by 8% to average WS77 points.
Clean spot freight rates for tankers operating on the Middle East-to-East route declined
by 11%, and rates for the Singapore-to-East route declined by 8% in November
compared to the previous month. A lack of cargoes and low tonnage demand were
seen to create a surplus of tonnage leading to lower freight rates.