Tanker Market Trends: A Closer Look At VLCC, Suezmax, And Aframax


  • Explore the dynamic shifts and nuanced trends shaping the tanker market, from the fluctuating rates of VLCCs and Suezmax vessels to the steady activity in Aframax routes.
  • Gain valuable insights into regional markets and rate movements, providing a comprehensive overview of the current maritime landscape.

The MEG (Middle East Gulf) VLCC market is experiencing a brief uptick in activity, injecting some activity into what has been a relatively quiet market. However, the overall trend suggests a potential short-term softening, especially on MEG/China routes, as charterers attempt to negotiate lower rates, possibly dipping into the WS 50’s. Despite this, other factors, particularly the activity in the US Gulf (USG) Aframaxes market, indicate potential upward pressure on VLCC rates.


The interconnectedness of the Atlantic market is maintaining relatively tight trough/peak spreads compared to pre-Ukraine war levels. In the West African Suezmax market, recent cargo trades indicate a stable market, with potential for further stability or slight improvement in rates. In the East, MEG/India cargoes dominate the market, with a floor price estimated for MEG/East routes, while the allure of the Atlantic market might influence BOT/UKCM rates.


  • North Sea: Rates have remained stable as activity focuses on the remaining April/early May stems. With limited stems in the first five days of May, there might be downward pressure on rates, although increased activity in the US markets suggests a viable option for tonnage ballasting out of the North Sea.
  • Mediterranean: Consistent activity characterizes the Mediterranean Aframax market, with sufficient tonnage available to meet demand. North Africa stems are extending into May dates, with forecasts suggesting a potential decrease in volume due to maintenance in the CPC blend.

Rates Overview

  • Dirty Rates (Spot WS 2024, Daily Change): Various routes show fluctuating rates, with some routes experiencing minor decreases.
  • 1 Year T/C (USD/Day, Weekly Change): Rates for modern vessels in the VLCC, Suezmax, and Aframax categories show relatively stable figures, with minor fluctuations.

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Source: Fearnpulse