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Tanker outlook: Owners unlikely to walk away from newbuild contracts

New York: Most of the tankers currently on order will be built and delivered, according to New York broker Poten & Partners. This is in marked contrast to the dry bulk market where analysts believe large numbers of bulk carriers will be seriously delayed or cancelled. However, tanker owners and investors are anxiously awaiting a clear picture on the orderbook, amid the recent chaos in shipping markets. Tanker values, however, have stood up reasonably well, with a "relatively low level of asset price correction compared to other sectors".

The fact that almost two thirds of tankers due to be built in the coming years have been ordered at well-established yards, mostly in Asia and many of them publicly listed, indicates that future deliveries are more certain than in some other sectors. Moreover, says Poten, only about 5% of the tanker orderbook has been contracted at so-called "greenfield" yards - those considered least likely to perform in the new straitened global financial framework.

Less experienced shipyards will experience temporary delays, Poten believes, but such delays will ultimately have a limited effect on the total capacity of the tanker fleet over the longer term. "More importantly," the broker says, "market sentiment has given little indication that shipowners are itching to walk away from commitments."  [8/12/08]


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