MR tankers: heading for scale. File Image / Pixabay.
Tanker operator Maersk Tankers and commodities trader Cargill are to co-operate on buying bunkers for their combined fleet with a view to extending the service to other tramp players and trading houses.
The two firms together buy 3.5 million metric tonnes of bunker fuel for 920 ships under their control.
"The service will leverage Cargill's in-house bunker expertise and Maersk Tankers' commercial and operational capabilities and will launch on April 1, 2021," Maersk Tankers said in a statement.
The joint venture will have scale which will allow it to source fuel "at competitive prices".
Bunkers will be bought by Denmark, Singapore and the US
"By digitizing, centralizing and analyzing the large amount of available data, the service will offer increased reactivity to market conditions and refined views on short and mid-term price outlook," the statement said.
According to a marker insider familiar with the deal, scale will come from Cargill's Medium Range (MR) fleet joining the existing Maersk Tankers' MR pool. The pool would grow to 60 ships making it "one of the market leaders in the MR segment", the insider said.
Bunkers will be bought by Denmark, Singapore and the US, the source added. "It's a good move as the rising cost of bunkers can be tackled by doing this."
It is understood that the agreement does not include derivatives or MR tankers for period employment, which will be handled by Cargill and Maersk Tankers independently.
Previous link ups between the two companies include in 2019, when Cargill and Maersk Tankers created a joint MR tankers pool and launched Project Njord with Mitsui & Co to bring turn-key energy-saving solutions to the market.
In addition, last year saw Cargill become a strategic investor in ZeroNorth, a tech start-up focusing on vessel performance optimization and decarbonisation started by Maersk Tankers.