Chemical tankers are sailing into another challenging year, according to the London based chemical carrier, tank container and terminals group Stolt-Nielsen's Chief Executive Officer, Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen.
"Our outlook for the first half of 2018 remains essentially unchanged. We do not anticipate any substantial improvement in the chemical tanker market until 2019 when the orderbook reduces and the supply/demand balance improves," he said.
Niels added: "For Stolthaven Terminals, we continue to expect a modest but steady improvement in results, driven by operational improvements and better utilisation. At Stolt Tank Containers, we expect continued strength in rates and margins. Stolt Sea Farm's results were strong in December in line with holiday demand, but are expected to decline consistent with seasonal patterns in January and February, though prices are anticipated to remain at higher levels than in 2017."
Stolt Tankers reported an operating profit of $20.4 million for the fourth quarter ended November 30, 2017, down from $34.4 million, mainly reflecting the impact of lower contracts of affreightment (COA) volume and freight rates.
Net profit attributable to shareholders in the fourth quarter was $1.1 million, with revenue of $506.8 million, compared with a net profit attributable to shareholders of $18.5 million, with revenue of $513.8 million, in the third quarter of 2017.
The quarter was negatively impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which closed down the Houston ship channel, disrupted cargo operations and affected onward voyages well into the fourth quarter.