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The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Tankers, toilet rolls and scuppered scrubber economics

Listen to the latest edition of Lloyd’s List’s weekly podcast — your weekly briefing on the stories shaping shipping

Panic buying seems to be the trend of the moment, whether you’re stockpiling bathroom essentials amid coronavirus concerns, or making a grab for tanker tonnage amid an increasingly volatile oil price war — it’s all the same sentiment spooking markets. This week’s podcast looks behind the inflated earnings of VLCCs and then examines the impact of a plummeting oil price on marine fuel spread strategies and scrubber economics. If you’re trying to make sense of a crazy, confusing week in shipping, you’ve found the right podcast.


2020 appears to have gone completely off script — even for an industry that has learned to expect the unexpected — the flock of black swans that have less than gracefully dived into view have disrupted plans A, B and C for most of the industry.

The sequence of events beginning with the US sanctions on Cosco, their eventual waiver, coronavirus demand implications and most recently the collapse of Opec+ has created the most volatile freight markets in recent history.

Joining the first half of this week’s podcast to delve behind the inflated tanker rates and offer some serious insight to the coronavirus-infected markets are our markets editor Michelle Wiese Bockmann and Lloyd’s List Intelligence’s consultancy head Christopher Palsson. 

But we’re not just talking tankers this week. Thanks to coronavirus and Saudi Arabia sending the oil markets into a tailspin, the industry’s already complicated bunker strategies have been challenged once again. Marine fuel pricing has actually fallen year on year and the predicted savings from exhaust-gas scrubbers are rapidly evaporating.

The difference in price between high and lower sulphur fuel oils has shrunk by two-thirds in two months, falling below $100 per tonne in Singapore for the first time at the beginning of the month.

If the current spread continues, scrubber fittings could prove to be a wrong bet for many shipowners.

Joining the podcast from our Asia team to discuss what this all means this week are: Hwee Hwee Tan our senior reporter out in Singapore and Cichen Shen our China editor, based in Hong Kong.

You can keep up to date with all our latest stories on the subject via our special coronavirus page here.

Enjoy the podcast and don’t forget, you can now subscribe to the Lloyd’s List Podcast via iTunes and Spotify, as well as most other podcast providers. And make sure you are registered for a free account on Lloydslist.com so you can receive our Daily Briefing e-mail.






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