Executive Briefings

Boom in Tanker Shipping Industry May Have Reached Peak

Tankers are currently the most profitable vessels in shipping with the cost to charter them remaining high by comparison with other ship types. These freight rates are expected to stay steady for the next 18 months despite a delivery boom of new tankers scheduled for late 2016, according to Devlin McStay, data analyst with IHS Maritime & Trade.

Even on a longer-term basis, the tanker fleet is only going to increase over the next 36 months. Even so, the industry can absorb the extra tonnage going forward and even expect that fleet growth will not outstrip demand in the next eight months, at least in the short term.

As long as demand for oil stays high and consumption increases in developing countries, the industry will remain healthy. However, as the fleet gains tonnage and scrapped tanker numbers remain low, vessel supply will rise. Many are saying we are at the high point for tankers within a seven-year cycle. But it could be downhill from now on for the best part of a decade after peaking in 2016.

In recent developments, the number of new tankers being added to the fleet is predicted to rise sharply in the third and fourth quarters of 2016, but already in the first quarter, significant growth has been recorded to date.

January saw nearly 40 new tankers come into service, ranging from bunker, bitumen, and asphalt carriers of a few thousand tonnes to 300,000 dwt (deadweight tonnage), such as the Chinese-built crude oil tanker Gener8 Supreme.

Out of those vessels, crude oil tankers accounted for eight ships with a combined tonnage that makes up two-thirds of the total delivered January tonnage.

Chemical/product tankers make up the largest group of vessel types delivered in the month, amounting to a total of 18 ships.

The largest vessels delivered other than crude oil tankers were two Navig8-owned Panamaxes. The smallest in the group was a Chinese-built Handysize of 17,000 dwt owned by Eurotanker Maritime Management.

MR2 tankers were popular in January, with 10 vessels delivered, totaling 486,000 dwt. Very large crude carriers (VLCCs) accounted for 1.8 million dwt and Aframaxes just over 500,000 dwt.

Source: HIS Maritime & Trade

Even on a longer-term basis, the tanker fleet is only going to increase over the next 36 months. Even so, the industry can absorb the extra tonnage going forward and even expect that fleet growth will not outstrip demand in the next eight months, at least in the short term.

As long as demand for oil stays high and consumption increases in developing countries, the industry will remain healthy. However, as the fleet gains tonnage and scrapped tanker numbers remain low, vessel supply will rise. Many are saying we are at the high point for tankers within a seven-year cycle. But it could be downhill from now on for the best part of a decade after peaking in 2016.

In recent developments, the number of new tankers being added to the fleet is predicted to rise sharply in the third and fourth quarters of 2016, but already in the first quarter, significant growth has been recorded to date.

January saw nearly 40 new tankers come into service, ranging from bunker, bitumen, and asphalt carriers of a few thousand tonnes to 300,000 dwt (deadweight tonnage), such as the Chinese-built crude oil tanker Gener8 Supreme.

Out of those vessels, crude oil tankers accounted for eight ships with a combined tonnage that makes up two-thirds of the total delivered January tonnage.

Chemical/product tankers make up the largest group of vessel types delivered in the month, amounting to a total of 18 ships.

The largest vessels delivered other than crude oil tankers were two Navig8-owned Panamaxes. The smallest in the group was a Chinese-built Handysize of 17,000 dwt owned by Eurotanker Maritime Management.

MR2 tankers were popular in January, with 10 vessels delivered, totaling 486,000 dwt. Very large crude carriers (VLCCs) accounted for 1.8 million dwt and Aframaxes just over 500,000 dwt.

Source: HIS Maritime & Trade