An analysis of the most popular tanker trade routes in 2020 held no real surprises, but a review of tonne-mile demand increases revealed a surge in Scandinavian and Baltic Sea crude oil and dirty products into the Far East
Poten & Partners’ analysis of tanker trade routes reveals a 133% increase in tonne-mile demand on the ultra-long distance of sailing from the Scandinavia and Baltic load area to discharging in the China Sea (China, Taiwan, South Korea). Poten & Partners said the dramatic change was due to the impact of Covid-19 on European demand, leading to traders selling surplus into the recovering markets in the Far East.
The Atlantic coast of South America to southeast Asia also experienced a significant increase in demand, rising by 69% year-on-year in 2020.
Poten & Partners also observed significant decreases in tonne-mile demand in Japan, the US west coast and northwest Europe. The AG–Japan trade decreased 16% and the AG–USWC trade was almost halved.
Despite these dramatic swings in tonne-mile demand, the four largest trade routes in 2020 remained the same as in 2019: the longhaul routes from the Arabian Gulf (AG) to the China Sea (covering China, Korea, and Taiwan) and from the AG to Japan are leading the pack, followed by West Africa to the China Sea and South America Atlantic to the China Sea.
Overall, tonne-mile demand fell by 5% in 2020, according to Poten & Partners’ analysis of the movements data supplied by APEX. The fall in overall demand was mainly due to Covid-19, and on that basis, as the impact of the coronavirus unwinds due to vaccination, so the demand will return by the same proportion, stated Poten & Partners.
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