Fewer tanker deliveries as well as new building orders has been the norm so far in the wet market. In its latest weekly report, London-based shipbroker concludes that 2016 will see a slippage of 15% of the planned tanker deliveries, although at least a part of this will just be “spilled over” onto 2017. According to Gibson, “there is always some slippage either forced by shipbuilders’ failure to meet their contracted obligations or possibly a negotiated delay requested by an owner for more commercial reasons. An example of the latter would be Euronav’s agreement with Hyundai Heavy Ind. to defer the delivery of two ex-yard resale VLCCs into early next year. In January this year, our data showed that scheduled VLCC deliveries would be around 61 units, our latest forecast is now for 10 fewer.
 
Similarly, Gibson said that “Suezmax slippage has fallen by seven over the same period. In terms of failed contractual deliveries the most spectacular example is the collapse of the STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Company which went into receivership back in May. STX was at one time the fourth biggest Korean shipbuilder by revenue and still has 23 tankers equivalent to 2.2 million/dwt on their orderbook. This includes Suezmax, LR2 and LR1 tonnage and clients eagerly await news as to when or if they are to take ownership of all these assets. Our records also show a number tankers presently listed for “Builders Account”.

This includes 2 Suezmaxes ordered by Frontline back in June 2010 from Rongsheng Heavy Ind., both of which were originally scheduled for 2013 delivery. These tankers remain listed for sale by the distressed shipyard, with their delivery date being constantly pushed forward”, said the shipbroker.
According to the analysts, “we would still expect to see further slippage from the current 2016 delivery numbers, although this will only push higher next year’s profile. Final slippage figures for tanker this year will exceed 15%. It may be an understatement to say 2016 has been a challenging year for shipbuilders. Despite record low newbuilding prices, shipyards have found it difficult to fill their depleted forward orderbook.

Samsung shipbuilders had to wait until October to be awarded its first tanker order and then got six (4 Suezmaxes and 2 Aframaxes). The orderbook so far this year includes 13 VLCCs and 10 Suezmaxes and 4 LR3s. Euronav and Nordic American Tankers (NAT) both took the unusual step of placing fresh orders instead of adopting their usual policy, in the recent past, of opting for yard re-sales or second-hand purchases”, said Gibson.
 
The shipbroker added that “perhaps both owners were attracted by the low prices on offer or in the case of NAT a requirement to replace older units in their current fleet. Euronav’s requirement to source Ice Class tonnage for contractual obligations might have been difficult to source from second-hand purchases. Towards the end of last year, a tranche of orders were placed to get around the impending Tier III regulations, introduced by the US.

The implications of more recent legislation imposed on shipowners as a whole will also impact on shipbuilding demand, providing the Asian shipyards with a glimmer of optimism. For many shipbuilders this optimism will be too late as consolidation, closures and lay-offs continue to be the only order on the table”, Gibson concluded.

Meanwhile, in the crude tanker market this week, in the Middle East, Gibson said that “with Dubai parties in full swing the VLCC market has been in hibernation. Cargoes requiring discharge options have paid ws 70 East and ws 40 West. The real test comes next week once normality resumes. The Suezmax market has remained flat this week with Owners willing to conclude fixtures at 140,000 x ws 37.5 to Europe. We have seen some Owners ballast to West Africa, but tonnage is sufficient to keep rates unchanged”.

Nikos Roussanoglou Hellenic Shipping News 21/11/2016