Tanker operators savour a mini-boom, Posidonia visitors hear

Conferences, Seminars, Forums, Energy, Markets, Tankers — By on June 4, 2014 at 8:33 PM
Jonathan Saul, jerry Kalogiratos, Michael Chalkias and George Saroglou

Jonathan Saul, jerry Kalogiratos, Michael Chalkias and George Saroglou

Tanker operators savour a mini-boom, Posidonia visitors hear,  By James Brewer

Tanker markets are beginning to see “some sort of balance, ” the Capital Link Shipping Forum was told, in an expression of a mood of cautious optimism in this sector evident among the attendees and exhibitors at Posidonia 2014.

George Saroglou, chief operating officer of Tsakos Energy Navigation, assessed that in the crude tanker market, “we have seen a turning point. “Demand is there, supply is balanced and that has created a mini-boom for two and a half months. We have seen asset prices going higher. The oil majors’ sentiment is to fix tonnage forward.”

Mr Saroglou was one of a panel who was asked by session moderator Jonathan Saul of Thomson Reuters whether a new “ordering threat” was in the offing. The TEN chief replied: “That is always a risk, but we have faced one of the biggest crises shipping has seen because of overbuilding the fleet.  It seems that after five years, some sort of balance is out there. We hope that sense will prevail and that we are not going to face the same problem [as earlier] two years from now. The yards are full until 2016, but if people go out and place more orders, we are going to face again what we did before.”

Michael Chalkias, co-founder and co-chief executive of Prime Marine Corp agreed, adding: “I hope that private equity funds will follow the same principles.”

Jerry Kalogiratos, finance director of Capital Maritime & Trading, worried: “There is not much you can do as regards discipline. There is always someone to have a berth that is available. There is always a magic availability to cook up berths when you do not expect them.”

On a more positive note, Mr Kalogiratos said that there was a tendency to exaggerate the true size of the order book. There had been substantial time slippages and cancellations. Some owners had run into trouble.

Deliveries of medium range tankers had slowed to an average of 6.8 per month, from a previous 9.5, perhaps because owners were delaying acceptances, “but I think there is some excess in the nominal order book. So one has to take the order book with a small pinch of salt, ” Mr Kalogiratos advised.

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