Crude and product tanker demand could rise by more than 6% next year because of the reshuffling of trade prompted by the European Union’s ban on Russian imports, according to Clarksons Research.

Average tanker earnings are at some of their highest levels in the last 30 years with the outlook continuing to look positive next year owing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and changes in global refinery capacity, it said in its monthly oil and tanker trades outlook.

VLCC spot earnings have strengthened rapidly through August and September to reach $70,000 a day with clean MR earnings at more than $40,000 in the middle of this month, it said.

Tankers International reported the highest fixture this week from Chinese refiner Unipec fixing on subs for $92,000 a day for the 315,000-dwt Almi Atlas (built 2018) on an 82-day voyage from Colombia to China.

Brokers reported a drop-off in activity later in the week with rates correcting downwards.

Nicolai Hansteen, chief shipping analyst at Oslo-based Lorentzen & Co, said: “The VLCC market is now taking a breather… but will come back with even higher activity in the course of next month with more fixtures being done out of the Middle East Gulf, West Africa and the US.”

Clarksons said that smaller vessels in the crude sector were particularly benefiting from the increased imports to Europe from the Middle East, West Africa and the US along with Russia’s export pivot from Europe to Asia.

“Tanker market conditions are currently very strong and the outlook remains positive,” it said in the monthly update.”

It added: “With the orderbook small … and tanker demand expected to strengthen further next year, tanker market conditions are expected to remain firm in the rest of 2022 and through 2023.”