Tanker Seaborne Commodity Trades
Trends in the world seaborne trade tend to follow those of industrial pro duction. Industrial production, which can be measured using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a nation, reflects to a large extent the state of an economy and, aggregately, the state of the world economy.
If global industrial production goes through a trough, the world seaborne trades will be affected, since shipping is a derived demand and depends on the existence of raw materials and the availability of finished products for carriage. In terms of numbers, crude oil represents 25 to 30 percent of the world seaborne trade by volume, with close to 2 billion tons traded during 2013. Iron ore and coal, with about 1 billion tons each, make up another 20 to 25 percent of world seaborne trade, with containerized cargo and other minor bulk cargoes making up another 30 percent.
Crude Oil Exporting Countries
The main exports in crude oil originate from the Arabian Gulf (AG) with a 47.3 percent share of global tons in 2013. Trade exports from the Arabian Gulf reached 898 million tons of crude oil in 2012 and 900 million tons in 2013. The West Africa (WAF) region had an 11.4 percent share of crude oil trade exports in 2013. The main importers in seaborne crude oil are Europe and North America, with 43.7 percent share of the global tonnage in 2012 and 41.2 percent in 2013. Asian OECD countries follow with 16.4 percent share 2012 and 16.3 percent in 2013.
North America imported 338 million tons of crude oil in 2012 and 300 million in 2013. Major trade routes are served by Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), which are able to move large quantities of crude oil from the extraction point to the refineries. The size range of a VLCC is 200,000 to 320,000 metric tons. The main routes of VLCCs include Arabian Gulf to Europe, India, East Asia, West Africa to US Gulf and West Africa to Asia.
The average Worldscale (WS) rate from the Gulf to Europe was WS37 in 2011 and fell to WS32 and WS21 in 2012 and 2013 respectively, for a 280,000 DWT VLCC tanker. It is obvious that there is a continuous decrease in tanker freight rates from 2011 to 2013. The average WS for the route WAF-USG was WS52 in 2012 and WS41 in 2013 for a 260,000 DWT VLCC.
Suezmax is the largest tanker ship capable of transiting the Suez Canal. The size of a Suezmax tanker is 120,000 to 200,000 DWT. The major routes include West Africa (WAF)-United States Atlantic Coast (USAC), WAF-Med., Med.—Med., Black Sea-Med., Cross-UKC,
Gulf-Med. The average WS for Gulf to Med. was WS61 in 2011 and fell to WS48 and WS34 in 2012 and 2013 respectively for a 130,000 DWT Suezmax tanker.
For the Black Sea-Med. route, the average WS in 2011 was WS89; in 2012 and 2013 the WS fell to WS74 and WS61 respectively for a 140,000 DWT Suezmax tanker.
Aframax is an oil tanker that can serve most ports in the world due to its medium-range size—smaller than 120,000 DWT. The main routes for Aframax oil tankers include Baltic-UKC, Cross-Med., Cross-UKC, Indonesia-Japan, Black Sea-Med., and Caribbean-US Gulf. The average WS rates fell for all major routes over the last three-year period.
Panamax is an oil tanker capable of transiting the Panama Canal, hence its name. The Panamax oil tanker is capable of transferring dirty or clean cargo. The size range of a Panamax is 50,000 to 70,000 DWT. The main routes for a Panamax oil tanker include Gulf-Japan (clean), Singapore-Japan (clean), Mediterranean-US Gulf (dirty), United
Kingdom/Continent-US Gulf (dirty), West Coast South America (WCSA)-US Atlantic Coast (dirty) and Caribbean-US Gulf (dirty). Freight rates have fallen in recent years.