The world's fleet of chemical tankers
has risen by 25 percent over the last four years, leading to a tonnage glut and the specter of reduced revenues for shipowners, an industry report said.
The report, by Ocean Shipping Consultants, said shipowners will be forced to reduce costs and increase efficiency to counter the estimated growth in the fleet to 23.5 million dwt by the end of this year.
The deliveries of new tankers over the last four years has come at a bad time for the industry which is struggling to recover from the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s which reduced trade. Chemical tankers are also facing the added challenge of adapting to changing patterns of the petrochemical trade brought about by a rise in Asian petrochemical capacity, notably in South Korea, and a decrease in long-haul imports from the U.S. and Europe
In addition, tanker owners are having to deal with the effects of the recent consolidation within the petrochemical industry. The latter will drive a move within oil companies to re-evaluate their transport logistics and seek integrated services on a global scale. The OSC report said the chemical carriers are likely to respond to the changing needs of the industry they serve by increasingly operating their ships in pools with other shipowners and by developing partnerships.