The development of shale oil production in the United States has boosted global shipping.
Overall, the refined petroleum product tanker transportation industry has undergone some fundamental changes since 2003.
From 2003 to 2008, maritime trade in products was stimulated by increased global demand for oil and changes in the location of refinery capacity.
Also, in recent years, according to Pyxis Tankers Inc., the development of shale oil reserves in the United States has helped underpin continued expansion in the trade of seaborne products, and the United States has become in the largest exporter of products in the world.
The actual growth in trade in products by sea freight depends on a number of factors, including prevailing trends in the world economy and in oil demand.
However, for Pyxis Tankers, who owns five tankers, it is clear that maritime trade will continue to be supported by the emergence of the United States as a major exporter of products and the growth of refining capacity in areas such as China, India and Middle East, which are very focused on serving export markets.
Overall, maritime trade in products grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8% between 2010 and 2019, from 810 million tons to 1,036 million tons.
Product demand per ton-mile of tanker trucks also increased at a CAGR of 2.8% during the same period, from 2.5 billion 514 billion tonnes of miles to 3.2 billion 218 billion tonnes of miles.
But mobility restrictions due to the Covid-19 outbreak negatively affected the demand for products.
Preliminary estimates indicate that maritime trade in products fell 9.9% year-on-year, to 934 million tonnes, in 2020 and demand for ton-miles also fell 8.8% year-on-year, to 2 trillion 935 billion ton-miles.
The sharp decline in maritime trade in 2020 can be considered an outlier.
For now, the deployment of various vaccines and the gradual relaxation of restrictions by various governments are expected to support growth in demand and the shipping of products.
In addition to the United States, countries such as India, China and Saudi Arabia have also exported substantially larger amounts of products in the last decade.