Russia’s largest shipping company Sovcomflot swung to a profit in the first quarter of the year as it boosts the use of LNG-fueled tankers.
The company’s net profit for the first three months of the year reached $70.1 million which compares to a $16.1 million loss in the corresponding period in 2018.
“Sovcomflot started 2019 with a strong Q1 performance, boosted by a return to profitability in our conventional crude and product tanker markets following an upswing in the first months of 2019. Profits from our crude fleet, in particular, increased 53 percent year-on-year compared to Q1 2018,” Sergey Frank, president and CEO of Sovcomflot said.
Igor Tonkovidov, executive vice-president, chief operating & chief technical officer of Sovcomflot added that the company made steps towards reducing its environmental footprint by increasing the use of LNG as primary fuel on two additional Aframax tankers.
Frank further noted that although spot market rates for conventional tankers have yet to reach their historic averages, they have come off the low levels witnessed in the 2017-Q3 2018 period and, whilst the company remains cautious for the second quarter of 2019, and Sovcomflot believes that a sustainable market recovery in the conventional tanker markets appears likely towards the end of 2019 and through 2020.