The crude oil tanker market is expected to grow strongly in 2016, with projected fleet increase of 4.3%, BIMCO said.
Most of the new tankers will be delivered in the second half of 2016 and the demolition activity is likely to stay subdued as the market enjoys high rates.
Following a considerably quiet ordering activity over the past years that brought about the current positive market, during the final four months of 2015, this trend ended and new orders were placed twice as fast. The year ended at 11.4 million DWT for oil product tankers, with all sizes getting a fair share.
For the crude oil tanker segment, the newbuilding market was busy throughout the year. Some 35 million DWT was ordered, out of which 66 were VLCCs.
According to BIMCO, the most significant was the sudden return of interest in Aframax crude carriers. Following a decline in the Aframax crude oil tanker fleet from 2013, no less than 57 new orders were placed in 2015. This was the highest number of Aframax crude oil tanker orders since 2006- when 101 were ordered. 2016 marks the end of a multi-year slowdown in fleet growth for crude oil tankers.
With respect to chartering activity, BIMCO expects to see prudent owners and operators starting to fix on long-term charters as the 3-year time charter freight rate for a modern VLCC has reached USD 44,000 per day and the 1-year time charter rate stand at USD 58,250 per day.
“Considering that these are the best time charter rates since the crisis and the freight market for crude oil tankers is expected to soften sometime during 2016, the current market presents an opportunity for some, to secure solid revenue and earnings streams for a fixed amount of time. The spot market may be very tempting at USD 100,000 per day, but the strong time charter market may be the window some owners and operators are looking out for to change their strategy for the coming year’s deployment mix of their fleets,” BIMCO added.
Moving further into the winter months of 2016, the tanker markets are expected to remain strong for the time being. However, with a substantial quantity of crude oil pouring into stockpiles around the world, there is a limit to how long this trend can continue.
BIMCO believes that as stocks fill and the end of winter causes reduced demand for crude oil, oil shipments cannot continue to grow the way they did in 2015 and the tanker markets will feel the effect.