The US sea exports of oil products have hit an all-time high after a seasonal surge in December last year.
Exports of materials derived from crude oil reached the highest annual level in terms of volume and tonne miles demand, a report by BIMCO reveals.
The total annual tonne miles demand surpassed the previous high from 2013 due to a 9% increase in volume from 2016, along with a marginal increase in average sailing distance.
The average seaborne exports of US oil productions rose from 2.5 million to 2.7 million barrels per day, adding up to an additional 10.8 million tonnes (equivalent to 80 million barrels) per year.
Peter Sand, BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst, said: “The development in US seaborne exports of oil products during the last 10 years have been highly beneficial for the oil product tanker shipping industry, as a larger share of the total US oil products is transported via the sea.
“Since 2010 the volumes have tripled and now amounts to 10% of the world seaborne oil product trade.
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“The recent development in exported oil products from the US provides the oil product tanker shipping industry with steady growth in volumes and yet again growth in tonne miles demand. Overall, we see oil product tankers operating in an improving market in 2018, with better market fundamentals for both demand and supply.
“Still, the oil product tanker sector may only break-even in 2018, if demand growth is low throughout the year.”
This high comes after three years of annual decrease in tonne mile demand for US exports of oil products over the years of 2014, 2015 and 2016, driven down by a decreasing average sailing distance.