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Daily Briefing March 11 2020

Free to read: Saudis in VLCC chartering spree as oil war escalates | Extended oil price war could stifle tanker shipping prospects | Italian ports exempted from coronavirus lockdown | Evangelos Marinakis struck by coronavirus

Good morning. Here’s our quick view of everything you need to know today.

The Lloyd’s List Daily Briefing is brought to you by the Lloyd’s List News Desk.

What to watch   |   Analysis   |   Opinion   |   Markets   |   In other news




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What to watch


Saudi Arabia has followed through with its promise to flood the market with crude, chartering 10 very large crude carriers on Tuesday to load more than 20m barrels of crude in late March, pushing rates to the stratosphere in the process.

Brokers argue that if the low oil price continues, it will take a toll on US oil exports and hence reduce ton-mile demand for tanker shipping. They are concerned that the tanker shipping rally could be short-lived with overall oil consumption curbed by the darkening economic outlook.

Italian ports remain up and running despite the country’s coronavirus lockdown, with major owners expected to implement business continuity plans in order to maintain operations, according to industry professionals in the country.

Greece continues to see coronavirus cases increase and one of the most well-known figures in the shipping industry, Evangelos Marinakis, announced he has contracted the virus. The shipowner urged Greek citizens to follow medical advice and take all necessary measures.


Analysis


After seven quarters of slowing growth, terminal operators had hoped the calming of the trade war would see a return to positive figures. The spread of coronavirus to consumer markets means volumes are set to remain low.

Meanwhile, container terminals have been told to raise their game if they are to avoid being regulated into meeting net-zero emissions targets by 2050. International Maritime Organization rules do not encroach on terminal operations. But if carbon emissions are not reduced, local and regional regulations may force ports to act.


Opinion


From the News Desk: How will an oil price war impact shipping? Already facing an economic slowdown due to coronavirus, and still getting to grips with new IMO 2020 sulphur cap regulations, the shipping industry is now weighing up the effects of dwindling crude oil demand.


Markets


The port of Rotterdam will take delivery of its first very large crude carrier loaded with diesel in nearly 12 months on the Vitol-owned tanker Elandra Kiliminjaro, now sailing from Malaysia to northwest Europe with a 2m barrels cargo of middle distillates.

Physical and paper crude tanker rates surged for routes to Asia on Monday amid expectations that the cheapest crude prices in four years would boost demand from Chinese refineries and lead to ships chartered for floating storage.

China’s national oil companies, on invoking force majeure on liquefied natural gas sale and purchase agreements, are likely to seek price revisions for future cargoes rather than call off standing contracts with suppliers.

Spot LNG prices in Japan dropped to record lows last month, following global trends amid supply and demand pressures.

The US National Retail Federation expects coronavirus to have a bigger impact on imports at major US container ports than previously believed, with Chinese production still hit by factory shutdowns and travel restrictions.


In other news


Cheaper fuel will not stop minor bulks players slow steaming, with companies saying charter rates and opportunity cost are more important market factors.

The Digital Container Shipping Association has published its cyber security implementation guide to help companies meet incoming IMO rules.

Klaveness will transfer Bulkhandling, the world’s oldest shipping pool, to Clipper Bulk as it shifts its business toward bigger vessels.

There are no international biofouling regulations and no standardisation on hull cleaning. And yet the cost to vessel performance and the environment from fouling is huge, industry observers say.

Indonesian port operator Pelindo banned crew from all foreign vessels from coming ashore to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The virus-hit cruiseship Grand Princess arrived at the port of Oakland, California and began disembarking passengers for quarantine.

Pavilion Energy signed a new five-year lease on tank storage and reload capacity with Singapore LNG.

US investment firm Prostar Capital said it would invest $100m in the Dutch Caribbean island of St Eustatius, which is to become a major oil entrepôt.

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