Greater ChinaTankers

Unipec tightens grip as world’s leading dirty spot charterer

Unipec remains the world’s dominant dirty spot charterer, according to a regular annual survey carried by New York tanker brokers Poten & Partners.

The Chinese subsidiary of Sinopec strengthened its position at the top of the dirty spot chartering league in 2018 with its share growing from 13.8% in 2017 to 14.7%. Unipec has dominated the Poten statistics since 2012. Shell remained a distant second. IOC and Vitol traded places with IOC moving up to third and Vitol down to fourth. ExxonMobil pulled itself back into the top 10. Valero is a new entry into the top 20, while Equinor (formerly known as Statoil) dropped out.

In the VLCC segment, Unipec continued to grow. In 2018, Poten counted 703 reported fixtures for the Chinese charterer, more than the second through eighth largest VLCC charterers combined. Shell moved up from fifth to second, while PetroChina dropped a few places. The total number of reported VLCC spot fixtures increased 7.8% from 2,119 in 2017 to 2,284 in 2018.

Poten recorded 181 suezmax fixtures for Repsol last year, one more than Chevron and five more than Shell. This was enough for Repsol to leapfrog both companies and land in first place in the suezmax chartering league. The total number of reported suezmax fixtures in 2018 increased by 15% from 2,560 to 2,944.

Vitol remained the largest aframax charterer. Unlike suezmaxes and VLCCs, the total number of reported aframax spot fixtures in 2018 declined 8.6% by 332 to 3,551.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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