Clarksons Research is predicting a bigger rise in tanker demand next year, following notable improvements in 2022.

The UK research division of shipbroker Clarksons said risks remain in the form of macroeconomic headwinds and high oil prices.

But increased average haul lengths are clearly supporting firmer tanker demand this year, and the supply side is healthy, with fleet growth projected at a moderate 2.6% across 2022.

The outlook for 2023 “appears positive”, the company said.

Fleet growth next year will be less than 1%.

Further improvements in global oil demand and supply, and continued shifts in oil trade patterns due to the Ukraine war, could boost overall tanker deadweight-tonne demand growth by between 6% and 7%.

Clarksons Research also expects the impact of environmental regulations on efficiency to aid the market, with the potential for supply to be constrained by slower operating speeds or time out of service to retrofit energy-saving devices.

“The tanker market has seen significantly improved conditions in recent months amid impacts from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, including shifts in trade patterns towards longer-haul routes,” it said.

“Conditions have varied by sector, with product tanker earnings especially strong.”

Product demand outlook looking better

By late June, clean MR spot earnings surpassed $40,000 per day, among the strongest levels on record.

Levels in the smaller crude vessel sectors remain healthy, but the VLCC market is weak, although eco and scrubber-fitted ships have fared better.

“Overall, with crude tanker markets expected to benefit from further easing of Opec output cuts and improved Chinese demand in coming months, and with the product tanker market currently very tight, the overall short-term tanker market outlook appears broadly positive,” the company said.

Tanker demand appears on track to improve notably in 2022.

Product tanker demand is forecast to rise 7.2%, reflecting a shift to longer-haul routes, with the crude figure at 6.1%.