It would be an understatement to say that 2021 was a disappointing year for the tanker market. The recovery that many pundits expected did not materialize and average dirty tanker rates fell to multi-decade lows. The tanker malaise was primarily due to an oversupply of vessels in the face of a tepid increase in demand. We can see that in the rankings table. The cargo volume in 2021 was virtually unchanged from 2020.
This is not good, since 2020 was 16% below 2019. Our data showed a marked difference in activity between the segments: VLCCs were down 200 spot fixtures (-9%) versus last year, Suezmax activity was about the same, while there was a noticeable pickup in reported Aframax fixtures (+189 or 6%). The main players did not change: 19 of the top 20 charterers were on the list last year, Hyundai was the only newcomer.
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