Tanker fleet grew by 3% in 2003, same growth predicted for 2004

As per the end of 2003, the tanker and combined fleet stood at 316.8 million dwt or 3,666 ships. During 2003 the fleet had a net change of 9.6 million dwt (+3%) or 88 ships (+2.4%). With the exception of a fleet decline in 2001, the tanker and combined fleet has increased since 1995, as seen in the graph below. During 2003, 306 tankers and 2 combined carriers totalling 30.3 million dwt were delivered. 192 tankers and 5 combined carriers totalling 20 million dwt were sold for recycling. Taking into account losses, conversions and other removals, the net addition was 9.6 million dwt. Clarkson Research forecasts the fleet to grow by 2.4% in 2004 in dwt terms.

The fleet sector showing the highest net change in number of tankers during 2003 was the aframax sector, which increased by 43 tankers for a total of 596 ships. The second highest was the 10,000-60,000 dwt sector, which grew by 33 ships ending at 2,015 ships. The suezmax sector grew by 9 tankers ending at 293 ships. The VLCC sector grew by 6 tankers ending at 433 ships. The panamax sector had a net change of one more tanker ending at 213 tankers, whereas the combined fleet was reduced by 4 tankers ending at 116 ships.

In dwt terms, approximately 81% of the tanker and combined fleet is owned or otherwise controlled by independent tanker owners, 8% by state oil companies, 6% by oil companies and 5% state owned.