Poten & Partners’ assessment of the market for reported dirty spot fixtures in 2019 show a decline by almost 9% year-on-year, but one charterer increased its dominance of the spot tanker market
China-based Unipec remained the number one spot charterer of tankers for dirty cargoes in 2019*.
Although the total volume and numbers of spot fixtures in 2019 were weaker than in 2018, Unipec’s share of the market continues to grow. In 2019, Unipec controlled 17% of all dirty cargoes globally, compared to 14.7% in 2018.
Also in 2019, Petrobras of Brazil climbed to ninth from 18th position. New entrants into the top 20 included Equinor of Norway (19th) and SK Corp of South Korea (20th).
Unipec was also the dominant spot charterer in the VLCC sector, according to Poten & Partners. “More reported VLCC fixtures are attributed to the Chinese giant than to the next eight largest VLCC charterers combined,” said Poten in a recent report. Unipec was believed to be behind the first US crude oil cargo export on a VLCC. The US-based shipbroker and shipping research group also noted that Chinese companies were the most active in the VLCC spot fixture sector with Sinochem, Petrochina and CNOOC occupying fourth, 10th and 19th positions, respectively.
In the Suezmax sector, Unipec was still a major force, but ceded first place to Shell. It was a remarkable achievement as Unipec was not even in top 10 spot Suezmax charterers in 2018. In 2018, Repsol was the number one spot charterer, but slipped to third in 2019.
Unipec is also a major player in the Aframax sector, moving up from seventh position in 2018 to fifth position in the top 20 in 2019. Top of the Aframax list is Vitol, closely followed by Shell, which is behind the significant LNG-powered Suezmax newbuilding order by Sinokor. Third and fourth positions are occupied by BP and Chevron, respectively.
*Poten & Partners notes that the report has been assembled from market intelligence and reported spot market activity. As such, it may not provide a complete picture of the market due to the private nature of many spot market fixtures.