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Will Fleet Growth Prove Negative for the Crude Tanker Industry?

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VLCC deliveries in 2017

In the first week of 2017, the number of VLCCs (very large crude carriers) in the world was 686. Halfway into 2017, the VLCC fleet has grown to 713. This means that 27 VLCCs have been added to the global fleet in the first six months of 2017.

According to Charles R. Weber’s tanker report, 16 VLCCs will be delivered in the second half of the year, while only three are expected to be scrapped. The VLCC fleet has already grown by 3.9% from January to June 2017. The expected net fleet growth of VLCC for 2017 is 5.8%. In 2016, the VLCC fleet grew ~7.0%.

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Suezmax deliveries in 2017

At the beginning of 2017, the total number of Suezmax vessels in the world was 462. Halfway into 2017, the Suezmax fleet has grown to 490. This means that 28 Suezmax vessels have already been added to the global fleet in the first half of the year.

According to Charles R. Weber’s tanker report, 30 Suezmax vessels will be delivered in the second half of the year, while only 12 are expected to be scrapped. The Suezmax fleet has already grown by 6% since the start of the year, and the expected net fleet growth for 2017 is 9.9%.

While both order books are heavy, the Suezmax order book is heavier than the VLCC order book. Remember, an order book tells us how many ships are expected to enter a fleet. A really heavy order book can cause a demand-supply imbalance, which can put pressure on tanker rates and be negative for companies like Nordic American Tankers (NAT), Frontline (FRO), Teekay Tankers (TNK), DHT Holdings (DHT), and Tsakos Energy Navigation (TNP).

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