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Poten: Single-hull savings on Middle East-Asia run

Poten: Single-hull savings on Middle East-Asia run

New York: The widening freight differential between single and double-hulled VLCCs on the route from the Arabian Gulf to Asia could mean a saving of $2m a voyage, according to figures from New York broker Poten & Partners. And, despite the declared intentions of various major charterers to reduce their dependence on single-hulled VLCCs in the wake of the Hebei Spirit incident, some large charterers are actually using more single-hulled tonnage on this key tanker route.

The VLCC market in the East has been considered "two-tiered" for a few years, says Poten, but the discount for single-hulled tonnage is substantially more than it was. Through 2007, the discount for non-double hull vessels averaged about $5,000 a day but so far this year, the average spread has widened to $21,000 a day.

Charterers that have adopted policies banning the use of non-double hull vessels are often tasked with finding a suitable vessel among a limited pool of available ships, Poten notes. "Regional imbalances in ship availability are what often lead to sizeable swings in freight rates and create risk exposure for these companies on a purely economic basis", the firm says. For an oil company chartering two VLCCs a month, today's savings could mean freight savings of nearly $50m a year. "All of a sudden this begins to feel like real money," declares Poten.  [12/05/08]