In Bimco’s chief shipping analyst Peter Sand review of the tanker market, he doesn’t hold back on his view of the last year: "2018 has been a horrific year. Probably the worst ever," is his description in the first edition of Bimco’s Reflection 2018.
Depite the upbeat market towards the end of the year, he characterises the crude oil tanker market in 2018 as one where "the larger the ship, the lower the earnings."
The low fleet growth in the crude oil sector has "cushioned some of the downfall of a weak demand side", but he does not expect the 2018 level of crude oil tanker scrapping to continue as increasing earnings will dissuade owners from scrap sales.
The kicker is this: Mr Sand said 2019 will not be much better, with the US sanctions on Iran continuing to influence crude oil tanker trade lanes.
He sees a powerful cocktail of US crude oil exports and increased Chinese refinery production (although as he has pointed out before, there is a disconnect between US crude oil sales and Chinese imports).
He is more upbeat regarding the product tanker market, however, mainly due to the distribution of IMO 2020 global sulphur cap compliant fuels. This bright spot, of course, hinges on the behaviour of the refinery sector.