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LONDON: Maritime advisor Drewry says despite oil market concerns about Iraq, dirty spot chartering tanker activity increased in June as Asia-Pacific refineries re-started after maintenance.

Libyan terminals Es SiderVolumes increased to 99.2 million tonnes in June from 81.6 million tonnes in May with freight rates for tankers rising across all vessel segments in the Mediterranean, Gulf, West Africa and North Sea.

Loadings from West Africa to both West and East increased as buyers took advantage of relatively low crude values and cheaper freight rates, notes the company. West African loadings for India increased for the first time in three years with an increase in demand from Indian refiners. India replaced the US as Nigeria's largest oil customer, importing about 30 percent of Nigerian crude.

Drewry says the tanker market will gain further as crude exports from Libyan terminals Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are expected to resume after a year-long blockade.

In the box market, Drewry says high cube 40ft containers are increasing relative to traditional 40-ft units and by the end of 2013 represented just short of 50 percent of the maritime container fleet. Maritime 40ft high cube containers grew by over seven percent in 2013 compared to the overall container fleet growth of 4.3 percent.

Drewry is forecasting a five percent growth in the global box fleet through 2014-17, adding that leasing firms are better placed to invest in box equipment than shipping lines.

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