Tanker owners will face a dilemma in the future as they will need to pick a side as to whether to trade Russian cargoes at the end of the war or when the sanctions end. Shipbroker BRS says owners will have to answer to the critical question of “what image” they want to portray and associate their name with, not only towards the shipping world but also towards its sphere of influence. As it is said the fact that some banks are starting to refuse to finance Russian cargoes, whether or not under price caps, might help some of them to choose.

The Broker mentions that looking ahead the sector has all the right reasons to remain confident about tanker earnings and their values, as the war will continue to disrupt oil trade patterns and support ton miles.

“This extra demand will not only continue until the end of the war, but also until sanctions halt. Indeed, arguably Europe will never again import the volume of oil which it previously did from Russia, which implies that tonne-miles will remain supported above their previous pre-war level. Since we do not expect drastic change to the fleet, this suggests that ton miles would only shrink if the world economy sank into a severe recession,” the Luxembourg-based Broker wrote in its publication for 2023 with the title “BRS Shipbrokers Annual Review of Shipping and Shipbuilding markets”.

Another critical matter that it is raised is whether the tanker owners will be able to catch up and put in place their strategy to accompany decarbonization. In the previous year the tanker owners were mostly concerned with market volatility and seizing opportunities.

“2022 should have been the year when tanker owners seriously focused on CII, EEXI, and decarbonisation rules. We believe that in 2023 they will have no other choice but to catch up and put in place their strategy to accompany decarbonization,” BRS says.

At the start of 2023 the orderbook is low, newbuilding prices are historically high and are discouraging many owners from placing orders. However, as it is believed by BRS, orders will be placed this year but these should be driven mainly by necessary and indispensable fleet renewal or by specific employment.