The dearth of tanker ordering could force older ships to keep trading, Simpson Spence Young says.

Tanker ordering this year is outpacing 2022, it said, with 2.8m dwt on order so far, up from 6.8m dwt for all of last year. Almost all replacements are for ships near scrapping age.

“Older tonnage significantly outweighs the tonnage on the orderbook,” the broker said in its monthly report published on Wednesday.

“With a lack of replacement tonnage coming onto the market at a time when oil demand is expected to grow and a shift in trade flows brought about by the Russian invasion has increased tonne-miles and vessel dislocation, older vessels in the fleet could see their average lifespan increase, resulting in fewer vessels moving to the breakers.”

Of the ships ordered this year, SSY said there were 28 product tankers, and 22 of those were MRs. Of the 10 crude tankers ordered, two were aframaxes and eight were suezmaxes. Most deals were done with South Korean and Chinese yards.

The broker said the ordering patterns could have been due to the high prices to build larger ships or the premiums product tankers have been earning over their crude brethren in recent months.

SSY’s take bolsters the argument made by tanker owners and others that the market will remain strong for some time.

Experts point to a low orderbook, with concerns over future fuels pushing ordering back further, and rising demand will keep rates high, even if Russia pulls out of Ukraine.