Is the Coronavirus or Cosco behind a recent increase in VLCC supply?

Posted by
The Signal Group
February 12, 2020

Freight rates for the VLCC market remain depressed. Interestingly — but not surprisingly — this decrease correlates with an increase in vessel supply.

In early February, we noted a sharp increase in the supply of commercially available VLCC’s in the spot market that can load in the Arabian Gulf (20 days forward).

Graph generated by The Signal Ocean Platform, using data from Signal Maritime.

Multiple factors, of course, contribute to this.

The return of some of Cosco’s VLCC’s, after the lifting of sanctions, are part of this increased vessel supply.

A screenshot from The Signal Ocean Platform shows a portion of the Cosco fleet that are part of group of vessels contributing to the spike in VLCC supply in the Arabian Gulf.

Here are a few illustrative examples of Cosco VLCC’s recent voyages. This shows how we can use The Signal Ocean Platform to view granular voyage details.

Cosbright Lake, a Cosco VLCC, had not traded since the end of October 2019.
Screenshot from February 11, 2020 from The Signal Ocean Platform

Cosglad Lake, another Cosco VLCC, finished a voyage on October 12, 2019 in Ma Day Island and has been unemployed since then (for over 4 months). Now, we see that a new voyage has been scheduled to start in February.

So far, we haven’t observed a year-over-year decrease in the number of Fixtures loading in the East since the outbreak of the coronavirus, so we don’t think decreased demand from China is driving this vessel supply at this point.

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