China’s Cosco Shipping Holdings Co. is among the most active in the ESPO trade alongside Russia’s Sovcomflot, data compiled by Bloomberg and shipbrokers show. Active Shipping & Management Ltd., BEKS Ship Management & Trading SA and Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd. from Turkey are still hauling the grade, along with Greek companies Avin International Ltd. and Estoril Navigation Ltd.
The shipping companies didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.
It usually takes about five days to haul ESPO to China on an aframax tanker, making it one of the more profitable routes globally, said shipbrokers. The short transit time means ships have little downtime when sailing back empty to Kozmino, thus increasing their utilization rates and profits, they added. An aframax can carry about 730,000 barrels of crude.
Those shippers still in the ESPO trade are capitalizing on high profits before new European Union sanctions kick in, after which there will be more scrutiny on dealings with Moscow.
The Group of Seven nations last week discussed different ways to maintain global oil supplies while limiting Moscow’s revenue. A proposal, which included price caps and restrictions surrounding access to insurance cover and shipping services, was floated although no decisions have been finalized.