Scrubber-equipped vessels are taking up a growing percentage of ton-mile demand for VLCCs. Image Credit: Vortexa
VLCCs fitted with scrubbers are steadily increasing their market share at the expense of the VLSFO-fuelled fleet.
Last month 45% of ton-mile demand for VLCCs was met by scrubber-equipped tonnage, according to research by shipping and commodity intelligence firm Vortexa, up from 39% in October 2019. The market share of non-scrubber-fitted VLCCs has fallen by the corresponding amount.
"Overall, VLCC earnings remain in the doldrums as we enter Q4," Arthur Richier, lead freight analyst at Vortexa, said in the research note.
"However, it seems those having made the bet to install/retrofit a scrubber have been able to maximise their earning potential in the dire environment.
"Tonne-miles for scrubber-fitted VLCCs exhibit more stable behaviour throughout this 2-year period, as they seem to fare better in the midst of current market fortunes."
The growth in scrubber-equipped VLCC market share reflects both an increase in scrubber installations over the past two years and higher usage rates for tankers with the emissions-cleaning technology equipped, Vortexa said.
Of the 29 VLCCs delivered so far this year, 26 are equipped with scrubbers, according to the company's data.