Average new building VLCC sizes hit an all-time high
The average size of very large crude carrier (VLCC) newbuildings delivered so far in 2012 has reached its highest level ever, as tanker companies order bigger ships and oil cargo volumes increase.
As the trend for VLCCs pushing 320,000 dwt continues, the average size of the 32 VLCCs entered into service in 2012 has been 312,355 dwt, according to Clarkson Research Services’ database.
This is up from an average of around 307,000 dwt in 2011 and 2010 and tops the average 311,000 dwt reported in 2008.
By comparison, most VLCCs built in the 1990s and still in service, are around the 298,000 dwt-302,000 dwt mark.
The average spot market cargo size, as determined by Clarksons’ global VLCC fixture list, levels out at around 266,771 tonnes so far this year, compared with 265,358 tonnes last year, 264,932 tonnes in 2010 and an average 262,691 tonnes in 2009.
The 10,000-tonne difference between a 260,000-tonne and a 270,000-tonne cargo is equivalent to a VLCC shipment every four weeks or so, so vessel demand could effectively be decreasing as ships and cargo sizes get bigger.
The newbuildings delivered into service this year include some smaller VLCCs.
Nine ships have capacity between 297,000 dwt-300,000 dwt, against 18 vessels at the top end of the scale at between 318,000 dwt-320,000 dwt, the Clarksons data shows.
The surge in newbuilding deliveries over the past five years saw the active global VLCC fleet top 600 vessels last month for the first time since the 1980s downturn, when hundreds of ships were sold for demolition.
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