The tanker market continued its upward trend during the month of November, OPEC said in its monthly report, issued this week. Dirty freight rates continued to move higher in November, with strong gains on all monitored routes. Aframax rates saw the strongest gains, as demand was robust as refiners loaded up on Russian crude ahead of EU sanctions. An ongoing shift to longer-haul routes due to trade dislocations also limited tanker availability. Aframax rates on the intra-Mediterranean route rose 43% m-o-m in November and were well above levels seen in recent years. Suezmax rates witnessed similar support, with rates on the US Gulf to Europe route up 31% m-o-m. VLCCs saw continued steady gains, up around 21% on average. Rates slipped mid-month,
as uncertainties regarding the EU sanctions and price cap led some charters to adopt a wait-and-see approach.
Clean spot freight rates on medium-range vessels were up 13% in November both East and West of Suez, amid tight tonnage availability.
The latest estimates show global spot fixtures saw significant gains in November to average 16.7 mb/d. Fixtures increased by 2.7 mb/d, or more than 19% m-o-m. Compared with the previous year, spot fixtures rose by 1.8 mb/d or over 12%
OPEC spot fixtures rose in November to average 12.3 mb/d. This represents a m-o-m gain of almost 2.8 mb/d, or close to 30%. In comparison with the same month in 2021, fixtures were up by 3.4 mb/d, or more than 37%. Middle East-to-East fixtures increased by 1.9 mb/d, or more than 34%, to average 7.5 mb/d. Compared with the same month last year, eastward flows from the Middle East were just under 2 mb/d, or 35%, higher. In contrast, spot fixtures from the Middle East-to-West showed a decline in November, down by around 0.2 mb/d, or almost 12% m-o-m, to average around 1.3 mb/d. However, y-o-y, rates were 0.5 mb/d, or almost 60%, higher. Outside the Middle East, fixtures averaged 3.6 mb/d. This represents an increase of 1.0 mb/d, or 42% m-o-m, and an increase of 0.9 mb/d, or almost 36%, y-o-y.
Sailings and arrivals
OPEC sailings rose by around 0.8 mb/d, or around 4% m-o-m in November, to average 23.5 mb/d. This was 1.7 mb/d, or about 8%, higher compared with the same month a year ago. Middle East sailings edged up marginally to average 17.6 mb/d. However, y-o-y, sailings from the region were up by about 0.9 mb/d, or around 5%, compared with November 2021.
Crude arrivals saw a mixed performance in November. Arrivals in North America increased by around 0.4 mb/d, or almost 5% m-o-m, to average 9.5 mb/d. There were up by a similar amount y-o-y. Arrivals in Europe fell 0.4 mb/d, or over 3%, to average 12.2 mb/d. This was a drop of 0.6 mb/d, or about 5%, compared with the same month last year. Arrivals in the Far East rose 3.2 mb/d, or about 21%, to average 18.4 mb/d. Y-o-y they were around 3.4 mb/d, or almost 23%, higher. West Asian arrivals declined 0.9 mb/d, or 10%, to average 7.7 mb/d. Y-o-y, arrivals in the region slipped 0.4 mb/d, or about 5%.
Dirty tanker freight rates
Very large crude carriers (VLCCs)
VLCC spot rates continued to show a strong performance in November, gaining 21% on average m-o-m. Y-o-y, VLCC rates were up 162% on average. On the Middle East-to-East route, rates rose 20% m-o-m to average WS112 points. This was 160% higher y-o-y. Rates on the Middle East-to-West route gained 26% m-o-m to average WS68 points. Y-o-y, rates on the route were up by 183%. West Africa-to-East spot rates gained 17% m-o-m to average WS111 points in November. Compared with the same month last year, rates were 147% higher.
Suezmax rates enjoyed a strong performance in November, gaining 31% m-o-m. Rates remained supported by ongoing trade dislocations, which boosted demand for longer-haul voyages in this class. Compared with the same month last year, they were considerably higher, up 216%. Rates on the West Africa-to-US Gulf Coast (USGC) gained 30% to average WS194 points. Compared with the same month last year, they were 218% higher. Spot freight rates on the USGC-to-Europe route rose 31% compared with the previous month to average WS172 points. Y-o-y, rates were 207% higher
Aframax spot freight rates saw robust gains on all monitored routes in November. On average, spot Aframax rates increased 45% m-o-m. Compared with the same month last year, rates were 201% higher. The Indonesia-to-East route rose 29% to average WS260 points. Y-o-y, rates on the route were up 148%. Spot rates on the Caribbean-to-US East Coast (USEC) route increased by 62% m-o-m to average WS466 points. Y-o-y, they were 276% higher.
Cross-Med spot freight rates rose 43% m-o-m to average WS325 points. They were 178% higher y-o-y. On the Mediterranean-to-Northwest Europe (NWE) route, rates increased by 39% m-o-m to average WS297 points. Compared with the same month last year, they were around 183% higher.
Clean tanker freight rates
Clean spot freight rates saw strength on all reported routes in November. On average, rates increased 13% m-o-m and were up 134% compared with November levels last year.
Rates on the Middle East-to-East route rose 26% in November to average WS236. Y-o-y, rates were up 100%. Freight rates on the Singapore-to-East route rose 6% m-o-m to average WS337 and were 144% higher compared with the same month last year.
Spot freight rates on the NWE-to-USEC route increased 23% m-o-m to average WS337 points in November. They were 157% higher y-o-y. Rates for the Cross-Med route rose 10% to average WS341 points, while rates on the Med-to-NWE route gained 8% to average WS351 points. Compared with the same month last year, rates on the Med routes were 134% and 125% higher, respectively.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide