Aframax and LR2 tankers are sharing the limelight
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the G7 imposed sanctions on the Russian oil industry. This led to significant trade disruptions as Europe stopped importing Russian crude and products and the regime in the Kremlin was forced to find alternative clients for their oil. Infrastructure limitations at Russia’s export terminals, where VLCCs cannot load, have historically favored Aframaxes and (to a lesser extent) Suezmaxes.
Needless to say, Aframaxes greatly benefitted from the need to transport Russian crude over much longer distances, increasingly to customers in India and China. Despite this period of above-average prosperity, tanker owners remained sanguine about new orders.
In 2022 and 2023, only 11 and 9 Aframaxes were ordered respectively, a modest number given the size and the relatively advanced age of the fleet. The Aframax fleet has an average age of 13.8 years, while almost half the fleet is 16 years old or older.
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