Singapore product tanker company Hafnia does not expect the Israel-Hamas conflict to have a major bearing on freight markets.

The BW Group-backed owner’s commercial executive vice president Soren Winther told an earnings call the war is obviously very prominent in media coverage.

“However, in terms of export volumes, that region doesn’t really have a lot to do with the tanker sector in general,” he said.

Winther was speaking to TradeWinds before Sunday’s hijacking of the 5,100-ceu car carrier Galaxy Leader (built 2002) by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

“You have very few export barrels, for instance, out of Israel,” the executive added.

“It’s hard to anticipate what’s going to happen if Saudi Arabia, [or] one of the surrounding countries, really get involved in this conflict and how that’s going to affect the entire Middle Eastern region,” Winther said.

“I would have thought, though, that is an unlikely scenario,” he added.

Winther explained that, for now, there is normal trading in the Middle East.

“A major part of the trading volume is obviously still ongoing, and there are no issues even in the Red Sea, where we also trade our own ships,” Winther said.

“So I would have thought that the likelihood of a major impact to the tanker sector in general is unlikely, but obviously impossible to say.”

The conflict is affecting sale-and-purchase markets, TradeWinds has reported.

Shipowners from the Middle East have become increasingly prominent in the secondhand tanker arena as fears grew over the potential spread of the war to neighbouring countries, according to Eva Tzima, head of research at Greece’s Seaborne Shipbrokers.

Belgian tanker owner Euronav had earlier noted a rush by tanker charterers to secure vessels ahead of any potential wider regional escalation.