What Is The Cost Of Shipping Oil By Tanker

Oil is a major energy reserve on the earth. Every year many companies have to invest huge money in producing and transporting crude oil from one place to another. Though it is a risky undertaking to ship oil, however, there are various methods to ship oil safely. Oil can be ship through tankers, rail, pipes, rail cars, and trucks. The method of shipping depends on the amount that is being moved and its destination.

Oil tankers are one of the primary methods for shipping oil. As tankers can carry a lot of fuel, the amount it costs per barrel to move oil is relatively cheaper as compared to rail car and trucks. These vessels are also one practical method of moving crude oil across the ocean. Large tankers are used to transport the fuel on a global scale- moving from one continent to another. The smaller tanker, also known as Barges do not have any method of propulsion to move them. They are usually pushed by tugs, and this is why barges aren’t used for transporting oil for long distances. Barges are often used for traveling in calmer water and aren’t used for traveling across rough seas.

What is the cost of a shipping oil tanker? The price for shipping oil using tankers varies. The cost for oil tankers in 32,000-45,000 DWT is US$43 million, while the 80,000–105,000 DWT costs $58 million. 250,000–280,000 DWT oil tankers rakes in $120 million for shipping oil. Moreover, tankers cost $40K-$70K per day for shipping 250k-2000k barrels. So, mathematically, the cost comes down to $1.00/barrel/1000 mi. after including all costs.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship Oil By Tanker?

A shipowner contracting his vessel to a client is paid ‘cargo’. This is the gross income agreed with the charterer to cover the whole voyage from port of loading to port of release. This income is utilized to take care of the expense for the owner to undertake the voyage, the expense of working the vessel, any intrigue installments to loan providers and different expenses related with owning a ship. Certain settled expenses fluctuate between transportation organizations, most critical the price tag, and each will, hence, have their individual breakeven cost at which it becomes productive to run the vessels.

However, once these settled expenses are secured, all extra income results in benefit. Income is accounted for by organizations and market watchers as far as ‘dollars per day’ otherwise called the Time Charter Equivalent (TCE). The cash breakeven TCE for a VLCC carrier is between USD 20,000 every day to USD 35,000 every day depending for instance on the dimension of loan interest, fixed working costs depreciating (or amortization) and G&A costs.

As a result of this cost structure, most tanker organizations are exceptionally operationally levered. In this manner, each extra dollar earned in income far beyond the “settled” cost base will fall through to profit.

How The Price Of Freight Is Set

The following chart gives an expansive worked example on how the cost of cargo is set. Various vessels will be qualified to take cargo and the dealer (who has been commanded by the freight owner to discover a vessel to carry the cargo) will through the span of a few rounds cut down the number of potential boats. This procedure will likewise be driven by the ship owners themselves as some will willfully drop out of any potential offering for a scope of reasons (coordination, cost, another load to offer on and so forth.).

Following is a chart describing the cost associated with various tanker sizes:

AFRA Scale Flexible market scale
Class Size in DWT Class Size in DWT New




General Purpose tanker 10,000–24,999 Product tanker 10,000–60,000 $43M $42.5M
Medium Range tanker 25,000–44,999 Panamax 60,000–80,000
LR1 (Large Range 1) 45,000–79,999 Aframax 80,000–120,000 $60.7M $58M
LR2 (Large Range 2) 80,000–159,999 Suezmax 120,000–200,000
VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) 160,000–319,999 VLCC 200,000–320,000 $120M $116M
ULCC (Ultra Large Crude Carrier) 320,000–549,999 ULCC 320,000–550,000

Simply the higher the number of potential ships, the lower the possible cargo rate will probably be as additionally qualifying bidders legitimately should mean more weight on the cost. In any case, it is critical to see just a single ship will be chosen to go through the last vetting procedure. The freight owner will evaluate the vessel’s seaworthiness for sailing and trade suitability by means of past survey results and investigations. Ship owners competing with one another drive valuing down below fixed expenses.

Factors Impacting The Crude Tanker Business

Some of the factors impacting the shipping prices of the crude tanker are:

Oversupply Of Crude Oil Production:

An oversupply in raw petroleum creation prompts a decrease in oil costs. Energy-consuming countries may utilize the chance to reserve a large number of barrels of oil at the lower costs. This leads to higher demand as well as a mass movement of unrefined petroleum from purposes of raw petroleum extraction to the refineries, which is useful for the crude tanker business.

Geopolitical Developments:

Along with oil supply, geopolitical improvements additionally play an important job in the crude tanker business. For instance, as Iran rises up out of worldwide sanctions, it is relied upon to support its oil creation and exports to coordinate its presanction levels. Asian economies like China, India, Japan, and South Korea are as of now importing a critical segment of crude petroleum from the Atlantic Basin. After Iranian oil becomes available, Asian economies will probably ship from the geologically closer Iran. Raw petroleum tankers will see more prominent transportation volume once Iran starts exporting more oil.

Oversupply Of Crude Oil:

Oversupply of crude oil also results in a decline in fuel cost to operate the ships. This fuel cost, commonly known as bunker price or ship fuel price, is highly correlated with crude oil prices. Amid declining oil prices, CNBC reports that “The average daily fuel cost to operate a VLCC has fallen from over $75,000 to under $18,000.” Though this decline in oil prices help crude tanker companies lower operation costs, the benefits are often negated in contract negotiations with customers. When operating costs are low, customers may opt to assume all operating costs which takes away an opportunity for marking up services.

Oversupply of unrefined petroleum

Oversupply of raw petroleum additionally results in a decrease in fuel cost to operate the ships. This fuel cost, generally known as bunker cost or ship fuel cost, is deeply connected with raw petroleum costs. In the midst of declining oil costs, CNBC reports that “The normal day by day fuel cost to work a VLCC has tumbled from over $75,000 to under $18,000.” Though this decrease in oil costs help crude tanker organizations bring down operating costs, the advantages are regularly invalidated in contract transactions with clients. While operating expenses are low, clients may pick to accept every single working cost which accepts away an open door for increasing services.

Increasing Competition

Additionally, rivalry among various fueling centers situated over the globe likewise impacts transport fuel costs and subsequently the crude tanker incomes. For example, in view of expanding rivalry from Rotterdam, the Russian port of St. Petersburg was compelled to drop its fuel costs as of late. Crude tankers profit by such decays, however, most of these advantages are passed on to end clients.

Impact Of Refined Products: 

The effect of refined items likewise assumes a roundabout job in crude tanker business. The refining procedure accepts raw petroleum as an input and produces refined oil prepared for utilization. Contingent upon the sort of raw petroleum refining, the procedure likewise makes sellable side-effects like naphtha, olefins, black-top, oils, and lamp fuel. Various types of crude petroleum will regularly be steered to refineries in nations where there is likewise an interest for the end-product or by-product. For example, kerosene is utilized widely in India as a fuel. Raw petroleum from the Middle East is particularly suited for making lamp oil. An increase in the demand for lamp oil in India will result in more interest for transportation of Middle Eastern raw petroleum to Indian refineries.

Miscellaneous Expenses:

Other costs and dangers in the crude tanker business incorporate hazardous courses where privateers may grab the tanker and request payment and harm from mishaps or terrible climate. Protection against such episodes is a huge operational expense for crude tankers.


Related Questions:

What amount of fuel does an oil tanker use?

Tankers move roughly 2,000,000,000 metric tons (2.2×109 short tons) of oil each year. Second, just to pipelines as far as proficiency, the normal expense of oil transport by tanker adds up to just a few United States cents for every 1 US gallon (3.8 L).

What amount does it cost to deliver a barrel of oil?

Its production costs differ from countries to countries. The minimal cost (the expense of creating an extra barrel of oil) is lowest in Saudi Arabia at US$8.98 per barrel; the highest in the U.K. at US$44.33. In Canada, it’s $26.24.Jun 28, 2018.

What amount does it cost to deliver oil via ocean?

Over the every day contract costs for an oil tanker of about $55,000 (U.S.), dealers that use floating storage must pay for the ship’s fuel (3 cents per month for every barrel), port support costs (10 cents per month for every barrel) and loan interest to finance the purchase of the oil (10 cents per month for each barrel).



Like any other commodity, the more the demand for it, the more interest for its transportation. Crude is the same and the sharp decrease in the cost of the oil market in the final quarter of 2014 have incites a boost in demand in both the U.S. and Europe where oil demands are very evaluating delicate. With high demand for oil items, increasingly raw petroleum is in demand by refineries around the world. Therefore, crude petroleum tankers came into the image.

Crude petroleum tankers have a fundamental task to carry out inside the energy value chain.  Their fundamental job is to transport crude petroleum from production point to refinery. Crude tankers can likewise carry oil items, for example, fuel oil.


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