Poten's Weekly Opinion: Balance of Trade

May 05 2021

Changing trade patterns impact West Coast VLCC employment.

Historically, the global VLCC trade has been dominated by large volumes of crude oil moving from the Arabian Gulf to Europe, the U.S. Gulf and Asia. The west coast of Latin America and the United States did not generate a lot of VLCC demand. The only regular trade used to be from the AG to the U.S. West Coast, where VLCCs (as well as the occasional ULCC) would deliver crude oil to several refineries in California. It used to be the case that these vessels would then have to ballast back to the AG or go around Cape Horn to pick up a cargo in the Atlantic. The lack of backhaul business made this a relatively unattractive “niche” trade that not every owner would consider. However, this has gradually changed in recent years. In this week’s Tanker Opinion we will discuss the recent developments and the potential for further changes in the coming years.


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