US-listed Nordic American Tankers has listed a string of suezmax fixtures in busier markets.

The million-barrel sector has taken a battering in recent days, with rates dropping 20%, but brokers believe improvements are coming.

Herbjorn Hansson-led NAT published its six most recent spot deals, without giving vessel or charterer details.

The company said one tanker was fixed to an oil company for a short voyage of 10 days, at a time charter equivalent rate of about $90,000 per day.

The next best rate was achieved from a “major oil trader” for a voyage of more than 30 days, at $75,000 per day.

Other vessels were booked with oil companies in a range between $40,000 and $65,000.

NAT said the numbers “give a picture of the current market level”.

The operating costs for the NAT vessels are around $9,000 per day.

The fleet is largely non-eco, ie built before 2015.

UK broker Howe Robinson Partners said Wednesday had been a busier day for suezmaxes, with cargoes working in all areas.

Surplus tonnage

“However, surplus tonnage means that the current trend continues and rates remain soft,” the London shop said.

“Rumblings of an increase in US Gulf activity and continued enquiry in other markets is required in order for rates to find the bottom and start to turn the corner.”

French shop BRS Group said last week had ended on a quiet note with a large drop in rates.

It assessed the TD20 route from Nigeria to Rotterdam down Worldscale (WS) 50 points to WS 106, or $41,300 per day, but is expecting activity to increase across this week.

Howe Robinson quoted the highest rates were still being secured for vessels loading Russian crude in Novorossisysk.

Voyages from the port to Italy were paying $86,150 per day.

Clarksons Securities quoted eco suezmax rates as averaging $56,700, down 20% over the last seven days.

Older tankers were trading at $52,800 — some 22% lower.