December remained in the doldrums, says SeabrokersContracts, Tenders and Rates // January 23, 2004
"Rates continued to soften as the month progressed, even though there were sporadic bursts of fixing. December pretty much epitomised the year as a whole, whereby demand was not at high and consistent enough levels to pull all the vessels out of port forany real length of time," said Seabrokers in the latest issue of its monthly report, Seabreeze.
"2003 has been on the whole a poor year for shipowners. On average we've seen rates down between 20-35 per cent on 2002, against a rise of over 11 per cent in the number of fixtures on the same period. Owners have made attempts to reduce the tonnage herein the North Sea with several recent highlighted cases. However perhaps a worrying trend we've seen is that long-term charterers have this year not been out in force snapping up vessels."
"2004 will probably be a mixed bag. With some charterers looking to expand their drilling programmes we might see a small turnaround in fortunes, yet with a long winter in prospect it may be well into 2004 before we see any real return of confidence to the market," concluded Seabrokers.