Tonne miles increase by 1.5%
Global demand for clean petroleum products in 2009 recorded a year-on-year increase of 1.5% in 2009 to 437m tonnes.
US-based tanker consultancy McQuilling Services said this translated to a 5.6% increase in tonne-mile demand, as countries in the far east sourced more product from refineries based in the Middle East and northern Europe.
Regional product tanker demand within Asia and the Americas fell year on year by 9% and 7% respectively.
US gasoline imports from Europe, shipped mostly on medium range tankers fell 35%, while US diesel exports to the EU grew by over 10% year on year, as the arbitrage, or price difference in the two regions was maintained in the US favour.
Last year, gasoil shipped from the Far East and India to Europe, as well as naphtha volumes transported from Europe and the Middle East provided backhaul opportunities for CPP tankers, the McQuilling report said.
Although tonne-mile demand diminished for long range two product carriers, demand for floating storage saw up to a third of the fleet on short-term charters from oil traders.
This shifted trade to small tanker types, especially on growing routes from the Middle East Gulf to Asia.
However McQuilling warned that ?fleet availability is rising atop further additions from newbuild deliveries?, as the price contango for oil products which created demand for short-term storage has largely unwound.
McQuiling"s weekly note was cautious about 2010 prospects for the products tanker sector.
First-quarter improvements in global refinery throughput are expected to be consolidated in the second quarter, but McQuilling said Indian and Russian refineries are increasingly meeting nearly all Asian demand.
Tonne-mile demand 2009
? LR2 (75,000-120,000dwt) - down 16%
? LR1 (55,000-75,000 dwt) up 23%
? MR2 - up 14%
? MR1 - down 13%