Okay, it’s time to give you my thoughts on the best product and ship brokers that I’ve had the pleasure to work with over my career in the LPG industry. I’ve tried to be fair in my judgement and honest in my conclusions, which as always, will lead to a lot of readers disagreeing, especially if it is them not at the top, or vice versa.
I’m really enjoying looking in on the LPG market from the perimeter fence for once, and there’s no bigger question on my mind than, when? The “when” relates to when are we going to see somebody in the LPG shipping market really break the new building ice, not just crack it in a couple of places. The gauntlet has been thrown down, but will anyone pick it up?
How on earth can we explain the strength being shown in the Very Large Gas Carrier (VLGC) sector these days, as it pushes to levels not seen since this time in 2015. All the pain and anguish the ship owners have had to suffer since 2015, now seems to be far behind them, instead the market is burdened with high rates, lack of tonnage availability, and the sobering reality of potential delays incurring the current exorbitant cost of demurrage.
You know when you get the BBQ out based on a fine weather forecast back home, and then it rains all day? Well I feel a bit that way inclined at the moment. A pretty large cold front has just descended on Houston moving temperatures down from the 27 deg C (81 deg F) this morning to less than 13 deg C (55 deg F) by lunch.
I tried broking once when I was in between jobs way back in the early 90s. The company was called Kinetic Energy and amazingly to me I was fixing cargoes (not enough of them I must say) intra Mediterranean, loading from Libya, Algeria, Greek and Italian refineries, Lavera and then trying to broke them into Morocco, Spain, Turkey and Italy. Most of the cargoes were small and I can’t say I caused any major impact, maybe a stir or two.
It’s probably time for a new car in the Hill household, we normally discuss 7 seats, which automatically stops me talking about 2, cost, colour, the usual items. But this year it’s not been a question of petrol or diesel, it’s been centered solely on electric, or an EV as the trendsetters now call them; I also keep asking myself why I don’t go for an LPG car?
I always remember in my early days in the LPG business being told about this venerable place in London called the Baltic Exchange, set up in 1744 after shipowners and merchants gathered to discuss and transact business over a cup of coffee, at the Virginia and Baltick Coffee House, on Threadneedle Street.
In yesterday’s SIMON SAYS I suggested that the perceived axiom of U.S. shale development’s future, the export barrel, was having a degree of doubt bestowed upon it., Albeit a somewhat near-sighted view, but as people say, be careful what you wish for! With U.S. inventory levels teasing the record peaks of November 2015, a lot is hinging on the weather in the U.S., and in case it might come as a late, but very welcome saviour.
There’s an unusual feel about the LPG market at the moment, with a number of questions that just seem too difficult to answer, some may never get answered. One question though that always seems to be on the lips of LPG players around the world is the weather. It’s not just the way us Brits, as we are affectionately referred to here in Texas, start a morning conversation, it’s also what drives our market, especially over the next couple of quarters.