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Tanker Shipping & Trade

Tanker Shipping & Trade

Tanker owners’ expectations revealed in ad hoc Intertanko polls

Mon 25 Jun 2018 by Craig Jallal reporting from Intertanko, Rome

Tanker owners’ expectations revealed in ad hoc Intertanko polls
Independent tanker owners vote on key issues

An online voting system allowed the panel discussion hosts at the Intertanko annual tanker event in Rome to gather live data through ad hoc polls. The results of these polls gives an insight into independent tanker owners’ attitudes towards a wide range of issues.

Peak oil demand

During a presentation on oil demand, delegates were asked when they thought peak oil would occur, 2035 or 2050?

  • 2035: 71%.
  • 2050: 29%.

Price spread between high and low sulphur fuel

The conference attendees were treated to presentations on the outlook for the 2020 sulphur cap and a report on the experience of fitting scrubbers. Delegates were asked their assumptions on the price spread between low sulphur fuel and high sulphur fuel in 2020. The results were toward the lower end of the price range.

  • US$300/tonne: 65%.
  • US$400/tonne: 26%.
  • US$500/tonne: 9%.

Fitting scrubbers to a fleet

The contentious issue of whether to fit scrubbers or not was very much at the forefront of owners’ minds. Delegates were asked to imagine they owned a small tanker fleet of four Aframax tankers and two VLCCS. Would they fit scrubbers to all tankers, some of the fleet, or none of the fleet?

  • None of the fleet: 61%.
  • Some of the fleet: 30%.
  • All of the fleet: 9%.

Autonomous shipping

A poll on autonomous ships was surprisingly close given that some owners laughed off the suggestion that this was a near-term possibility. Intertanko delegates were asked: are you looking forward to autonomous ships?

  • No: 53%.
  • Yes: 47%.


There was a similar result regarding the role of shipbrokers, whose function has been threatened in one form or another since the internet appeared in around 1996. Delegates were asked: do you think shipbrokers will be needed by 2030?

  • Yes: 57%.
  • No: 43%.

Shipping is an inherently conservative industry, so the reserved attitude to scrubbers should not be a surprise. The close poll on autonomous ships suggests that attitudes are changing and the exchange of ideas and experiences is a key function of the Intertanko annual tanker event.


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