Shipowner Hafnia and trader Mercuria are teaming up to operate panamax tankers in a new pool.

The Hafnia Panamax Pool will commercially run 10 vessels from the companies’ US, European and Asian offices.

“In a joint effort, Hafnia and Mercuria are setting out to service the industry by initially committing 10 vessels with an average age of 13 years to bridge the gap across a rapidly ageing segment,” they said.

Hafnia has 10 panamax-sized LR1s built between 2008 and 2017.

The Singapore company has been contacted for further information on growth plans.

Geneva-based Mercuria is listed as owning a suezmax and a small clean tanker.

Hafnia already runs pools for handysize, chemical tanker, LR2, MR and specialised smaller tonnage.

The partnership will launch in March, aiming to capitalise on the “extensive expertise and resources” of both companies.

“The companies will draw on their well-established combined strengths through this strategic alliance and seize the opportunities in a dynamic global shipping industry,” they said.

Fleet shrinking

The panamax tanker fleet is dwindling as owners look to the economies of scale offered by the bigger aframax and LR2 vessels.

Clarksons lists just 74 crude panamaxes of between 55,000 dwt and 85,000 dwt remaining in the world fleet, most dating from before 2010.

There are three ships on order. Two of these have been contracted by China Cosco Shipping and one by Russia’s Rosneft.

There are 380 clean LR1s of the same size in the fleet, with 31 on order.

“With this venture, we look forward to leveraging our combined expertise, and are confident that customers and partners will see immediate and obvious advantages,” said Soren Skibdal Winther, vice president of commercial at Hafnia.

Larry Johnson, global head of freight & shipping at Mercuria, added: “As charterers ourselves, we have noticed a deficit of modern tonnage in this segment, and we are delighted to team up with industry-leading tanker owner and pool operator Hafnia in our efforts to service this need.”

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