An empty supertanker burns about 90 metric tons of fuel, known as bunkers, a day when traveling at 14 knots, according to Riverlake Shipping SA, a broker in Geneva. Hamilton, Bermuda- based Frontline, the world’s biggest supertanker operator, can cut that to about 25 tons when sailing at 10 knots on the empty leg of a journey, said Jens Martin Jensen, chief executive officer of the company’s management unit in Singapore. That means saving about $42,000 a day at the global average price.
The combination of what the industry calls ultra-slow steaming and violence in Libya, Africa’s third-biggest oil producer, more than doubled daily returns for owners to $32,089 since the end of February, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange, which assesses more than 50 maritime routes. Traders of forward freight agreements, used to bet on or hedge shipping costs, anticipate the gains will last, with second-quarter contracts at $28,894.