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    Strong demand could soak up tonnage later this year says broker

    News // March 9, 2006

    Broker Offshore Shipbrokers Ltd )OSL) says the spot market in February got off to a slow start once again with availability being generally good for charterers and owners continuing to compete for utilisation, and says it believes that, longer term, strong demand for PSVs will "soak up" some of the newbuilds due to enter service later this year.

    In its latest monthly report, OSL said the first and third weeks of February saw periods of increased rig move activity causing a temporary tightening of the market with an associated rise in vessel dayrates. "These periods were short lived, with AHTS
    rates reaching circa £25,000 but soon returning to the £10,000-£15,000 level more frequently seen throughout the month," said OSL.

    "The PSV market suffered similar ‘peak and troughs’ although fluctuations in day rates were less dramatic, remaining in the £8,000-£15,000 range. The end of February was, however, a very different story seeing a dramatic upturn as bad weather and increased rig move activity combined to cause a distinct tightening, forcing AHTS day rates up to circa £45,000. This upturn has lasted into March and at the time of writing vessel availability remains very tight for both AHTS and PSVs with recent cargo runs fixing at the £20,000-£25,000 levels," OSL's report explained.

    OSL said vessel owners continue to remain optimistic for a healthy 2006 with some predicting already that this is the start of a very busy year. With large numbers of AHTS expected to leave the spot market during the summer months and a steady stream of term PSV requirements coming to the market, it is expected that charterers may struggle to source suitable tonnage to meet their needs.

    "The fourth quarter of 2006 will, however, remain a nervous time for owners due to the influx of new deliveries and tonnage returning from summer project work, with some sources predicting the market to be over tonnaged by the first quarter of 2007," noted OSL.

    However, the company also said that the rig market remains "extremely healthy" with charterers struggling to secure units for 2006 drilling programmes, many of which have now been forced back until 2007. "This strong rig demand coupled with their need for support vessels should soak up some of the additional tonnage delivering towards the end of 2006," concluded OSL. 

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