32% more new construction orders for tankers

The order book for tankers has grown significantly since the beginning of the year: by 104 newbuildings.

The valuation and ship data platform Veson Nautical – ex VesselsValue – has recorded a significant increase in newbuilding orders for tankers[ds_preview].

According to a recently published analysis, 104 tankers have been added to the global order book so far this year. In comparison: in the same period last year, 79 units were added. This means that shipowners’ newbuilding activity has increased by 32%.

According to the figures, new tanker construction has also risen in all subsectors. LR2 vessels with a carrying capacity of 115,000 tons showed the biggest jump, rising by around 7.31% to US$74.16m since the beginning of the year. The upward trend in this segment has thus continued, with the figure at its highest level since 2008.

Of the tankers ordered this year, the MR sector accounted for the majority (approx. 37%), followed by VLCCs (approx. 31%), Suezmaxes (approx. 19%) and LR2 vessels (12%). Aframaxes were in fifth place with only 1% of all orders placed this year. No LR1 orders were reported.

More than half of the tankers ordered in China

More than half of these orders went to Chinese shipyards, with a share of around 57%. South Korea followed with a share of 36% and Vietnam in third place with 6%. Japan accounts for only 1% of the tanker orders placed so far in 2024.

Greek buyers have been the most active in ordering tankers with 28 orders this year, mainly in the Suezmax sector. Followed by Indonesia, where Pertamina ordered 15 MR tankers in January this year, to be built by Hyundai Mipo and delivered in 2026.

Newbuilds and sanctions

The increasing demand for new tankers is attributed to owners seeking to renew ageing fleets and taking the opportunity to order vessels that meet the latest environmental regulations. In addition, KYC regulations on the sale of second-hand vessels are becoming more stringent to crack down on those who continue to carry sanctioned cargoes. Securing a new build allows a clean title for a vessel, which puts the owner in a strong position for future transactions, Veson Nautical said. Positive sentiment in the sector for the future is also an important factor for new orders.

“Firm earnings in recent years due to increased ton-mile demand have also supported the tanker sector, led by VLCC earnings, which currently stand at around US$ 44,800/day for a year, an increase of around 6% year-on-year,” the analysis said. Geopolitical uncertainties have boosted earnings in the tanker sector along with the improved demand outlook. Difficulties in the Suez Canal as a result of Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea have forced owners to sail longer routes; “this, combined with increased tonne-mile demand due to changes in trade flows as a result of sanctions on Russian oil cargoes, has improved earnings for crude oil.”

“Notable recent tanker newbuilding orders” include four 50,000-ton MR2 tankers ordered by EuroGreen Maritime to be built by Wuhu Xinlian Shipbuilding and delivered in 2026. Union Maritime has also ordered two LR2 tankers with a carrying capacity of 115,000 tons, which are to be built by Hyundai Vietnam and delivered in 2027.

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