Oil is a major source of global energy, with widespread application and use in the transportation, manufacturing, industrial and commercial sectors. Most household items, plastics and solvents are produced using oil and petroleum derivatives.
Hence, the worldwide oil demand is constantly growing, propelling shipping companies to come up with efficient technologies and vessels for transporting this immensely valuable natural resource across the globe.
There are many types of oil carriers categorised according to their sizes such as VLCC, Suezmax and Aframax. In 2020, the global fleet comprised 810 very large crude carriers.
As per Statista, the global oil tanker fleet has expanded considerably from the late 1990s to 2020 by over 76%, owing to new technological developments and the construction of highly productive and environmentally sustainable oil tankers. In this article, let us have a look at the world’s Top 12 tanker Shipping companies.
1. Teekay Corp
Founded in 1973 in Hamilton, Bermuda, by a Danish Shipbroker named Torben Karlshoej, Teekay Corp has evolved from a small regional shipping firm into the world’s biggest marine energy transportation, production and storage company. Today, it is the world’s leading tanker operator and ranks among the biggest tanker shipping companies with a revenue of $ 2 billion and a market capital of $268.95 million.
Teekay Corp started its journey by operating second and third-hand oil tankers in the 1970s to take advantage of the oil crisis. The head office was opened in the Bahamas and most of its vessels were initially registered under the flagship of Liberia. It earned huge profits in the 1980s by operating in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean region during the Iran-Iraq war and transformed from a tanker operator to a major shipowner in the commercial shipping industry in the 2000s. It also diversified its operations and explored new sectors such as gas and offshore.
Presently, it owns a remarkable fleet of oil tankers including Aframax, Suezmax, a VLCC and LR2 for transporting liquified natural gas, crude oil and LPG, and its total assets are worth 2.23 billion dollars.
The company operates in numerous countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Britain and the United States.
The company has announced its growing interest in the LNG transportation sector. Hence, Teekay LNG strives to uphold sustainable values and a shared concern for a shift to a low-carbon world. In 2021, the company became a part of the Vancouver Maritime Centre for Climate to support decarbonisation activities in the shipping industry.
2. Euronav NV
Euronav NV is an independent tanker operator possessing the second biggest oil tanker fleet in the world with a revenue of 1.4 billion dollars. It began operations in 1989, as a subsidiary of the Compagnie Nationale de Navigation or CNN and specialises in marine transportation and storage of crude oil. Headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium, it has regional offices in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Qatar and across major European and Asian countries. Apart from oil tankers, it also constructs, converts and operates floating, storage and offloading vessels or FSOs. It is also renowned for possessing one of the youngest commercial fleets in the shipping industry and developing new and innovative shipping technologies.
With a market capital of $ 1.63 billion and assets worth 3.71 billion dollars, the company has expanded its operations in recent years. A total of 75 vessels are operated by Euronav including FSOs, V-Plus, Very Large Crude Carriers and Suezmax size vessels. Its fleet is operated both on the spot and on the period market. Majority of its VLCCs and a V-Plus operate in the Tankers International Pool while half of its Suezmax fleet is operational on a long-term charter while the rest is operated by Euronav in the spot market.
Almost all its vessels are registered under the maritime law and flags of France, Greece, Liberia and Belgium. Two FSOs of the company are currently under the flagship of the Marshall Islands.
The company’s commercial fleet is managed by its wholly-owned subsidiaries; the Euronav Ship Management SAS and Euronav SAS, both French companies based in Nantes, France, with a branch office in Belgium, and the Euronav Ship Management ( Hellas) Ltd. with a regional office in Athens, Greece.
3. Scorpio Tankers Inc.
Scorpio Tankers Incorporated is a leading company providing transportation and distribution of petroleum products such as gasoline, heating oil and fuel oil to its national and international clients. It is the third biggest tanker operating company in the world with a revenue of 958.1 million dollars, a market capital of 700.64 million dollars and assets amounting to 5.16 billion dollars. Scorpio Tankers is based in Monaco with major executive offices in New York.
The company was founded in 2009 by Emanuele A.Lauro, the 24-year-old grandson of the Italian businessman Glauco Lolli-Ghetti who laid the foundation of Scorpio Ship Management in New York in 1976.
A publicly-listed enterprise, it actively trades on the New York trade exchange under the STNG ticker. In 2017, Scorpio tankers signed a merger agreement with Navig 8 product tankers and acquired the latter’s 27 newly-built LR tankers. As a result, it emerged as the biggest product tanker company on the US Securities Exchange.
The company owns and operates 130 crude oil tankers and 10 chartered ships. Recently, 4 newly-constructed tankers with a low carbon footprint were added to the fleet.
4. Frontline Ltd
Frontline Limited is a leader in the maritime transportation of crude oil and refined goods. It is the fourth biggest oil tanker shipping enterprise in the world, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda and supervised by John Fredriksen. It has a revenue of 957.3 million dollars and market capital and assets worth $ 1.22 billion and 3.134 billion dollars respectively.
Known for one of the most modern and youngest fleets in the shipping industry, Frontline has also been actively engaged in the production and research of innovative, energy-efficient maritime technologies to uphold its motto of environmental protection and also to earn maximum profits.
Established in 1985, under the leadership of Fredriksen, it took over many companies such as ICB in 1999 and the Golden Ocean in 2000. These strategic takeovers transformed it into a major oil tanker company and it is listed on both the Oslo and the New York stock exchanges under the FRO ticker.
Presently, Frontline owns and operates around 19 Very Large Crude Carriers, 29 Suezmax tankers, and 20 Aframax/ LR2 tankers. All of these vessels are sailing under the flagship of either Hong Kong, Libya or Michigan. It has offices in London, Glasgow, Oslo and Singapore while the main office is in Bermuda.
5. DHT Holdings
Double Hull Tankers Incorporated is a crude oil transportation company possessing an international fleet consisting of 27 oil tankers in the VLCC segment, sailing under the flag of Hong Kong and France. DHT Holdings has a revenue of 535 million dollars, a market capitalization of around 941 million dollars and assets worth 1.69 billion dollars, making it the fifth-largest tanker operator in the world.
Headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, it was established in 2005 and operates through its management companies and regional offices located in Monaco, Singapore and Oslo.
The company’s oil tankers were built by top shipbuilding companies such as Daewoo Shipbuilding, Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea and Bohai Shipbuilders based in China.
In 2014, DHT Holdings bought all the shares in Samco Shipbuilding, a private ship owning enterprise headquartered in Singapore. It also acquired 7 VLCCs and numerous chartered ships. In 2017, it acquired the entire VLCC fleet of the BW Group, a significant maritime company providing shipping services, maritime infrastructure and engaging in oil and gas production. This led to a considerable expansion of DHT’s commercial tanker fleet and made BW Group a major shareholder in the company.
6. Tsakos Energy Navigation
Also called TEN Ltd, this company specialises in the transportation of crude oil and petroleum goods worldwide. With a revenue of $ 512.5 million, it ranks as the world’s sixth-biggest tanker operator and possesses a versatile and highly efficient fleet comprising oil tankers and Liquified natural gas vessels. It entered the LNG market with its LNG carrier, Neo Energy, which became operational in 2007 and the shuttle tanker segment with its two DP2 Suezmax Tankers in 2016.
Presently, it owns 64 ships including 2 Very large crude carriers, 13 Suezmax tankers, 20 Aframax/LR2 tankers, 11 Panama LR1 ships,17 handymax, 2 LNG vessels, and 3 DP2 shuttles, managed by Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement S.A. (TCM).
The company has recorded excellent upward growth since its commencement in 1993. Based in Athens, Greece its market capital stands at 168 million dollars with total assets worth 3.160 billion dollars. Incorporated in Bermuda, TEN Ltd. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and also the Bermuda Stock Exchange under the tickers TNP and TEN.
It is also the owner of the finest 25 ice-class tankers in the world capable of treading amidst the toughest weather conditions.
7. Navios Maritime Holdings
Founded in 1992, Navios is a prominent commercial shipping and logistics provider. It operates around 99 vessels including 70 dry bulk carriers and 29 oil tankers comprising VLCC, LR1, LR2 Product and chemical tankers. It offers transportation, storage and logistics-related services for international bulk cargoes by partnering with ship owners, brokers, raw material manufacturers, agricultural traders and renowned exporters. It also provides financial and shipping advisory services to its clients.
It has a revenue of 484.8 million dollars, most of which is generated in the South American region due to the successful operation of its subsidiary, South American Logistics Inc.
Headquartered in Piraeus, Greece, Navios has regional offices in New York, Montevideo in Uruguay, Antwerp, Buenos Aires and Asuncion in Paraguay. With a market capital of $57.17 million and assets worth $2.142 billion, Navios operates a diverse fleet comprising Capesize, Panamax, Ultra-Handymax and Handysize bulk carriers. The company is the owner of the biggest bulk handling facility in Uruguay and one of the largest liquid bulk terminals in Paraguay.
8. SFL Corporation
Based in Hamilton, Bermuda, SFL Corporation Limited is an international ship owner and a chartering company. Earlier known as Ship Finance International Limited, the company has diversified its operations in recent decades. It has a market capital of 810.08 million dollars and assets worth 3.7 billion dollars. Established in 2003, SFL has evolved from a pure tanker owner to one of the biggest ship owners by diversifying its operations, investing in new sectors and adopting innovative shipping technologies.
SFL boasts a commercial fleet comprising 74 vessels including 16 oil tankers, 15 dry bulk carriers, 35 ocean liners, 6 Car Carriers, and 2 offshore assets. The company has a worldwide presence with regional offices spread across major countries and main offices located in Britain and Sweden. Its subsidiary companies operate from Cyprus, Malta, Liberia and also Marshall islands. It has a revenue of 458.849 million dollars and earns additional income from chartering, purchasing and selling its assets.
9. International Seaways
International Seaways Limited was founded in 2016 and provides marine transportation services of crude oil and petroleum products to its worldwide customers. Headquartered in New York, it ranks among the world’s top 10 tanker shipping companies with total revenue of 366.184 million dollars and market capital and assets amounting to $491.42 million and $1.712 billion respectively.
International Seaways, Inc. owns and operates a modern fleet of 87 vessels, comprising 13 Very Large crude carriers, 13 Suezmax tankers, 5 Aframaxes/LR2s, 10 Panamaxes/LR1s, 40 MR tankers and four Handy tankers. It has partnered with reputed firms operating in the shipping sector and owns many offshore assets. The company has 1642 employees providing technical solutions and solving customer queries.
10. Mitsui OSK Lines
Founded in 1884, MOL is a renowned Japanese shipping company that ranks among the world’s biggest tanker operators with a revenue of 10.7 billion dollars. It is also a logistics services provider and owns a commercial fleet consisting of bulk cargo carriers, RORO ships, container ships, LNG vessels etc. With a market capitalization of over 2 billion dollars and assets worth 19 billion dollars, it operates container terminals, owns many offshore assets and engages in ship construction and maritime research.
The company’s tanker fleet comprises Very large Crude Carriers weighing more than 200,000 DWT along with Aframax tankers. It also owns the youngest product tankers for transporting petroleum products like gas oil, naphtha, fuel, gasoline etc and chemical tankers for delivering liquid chemicals. It also offers attractive seafarer education programmes and training for tanker operations at its training institutes. MOL operates methanol carriers with cutting-edge technologies like dual-fuel engines that can function on both fuel oil and methanol.
MOL is also known for its LPG tanker and LNG tanker fleets. In 2016, it began operating the world’s first Very Large Ethane Carrier in a joint partnership with India’s Reliance Industries Limited. The company manages its LNG fleet through numerous subsidiaries and offices situated in major cities of Japan, the United States, Indonesia, Oman, Algeria, Hong Kong, etc. MOL also became the first Asian Shipping company to operate an ice-class LNG carrier in 2018.
11. Nordic American Tankers
Established in 1995 in Hamilton, Bermuda, Nordic American Tankers is one of the biggest tanker shipping companies owning a homogeneous fleet of 23 Suezmax tankers for transporting crude oil. It has a revenue of 317 million dollars and a market capital of 438 million dollars. Most of its double-hull tankers operate in the spot market however some are also chartered. Its tankers are registered under the maritime law and flagship of either the Bahamas, Liberia, Marshall Islands or the Cayman Islands.
The company is currently focussing on expanding its homogenous fleet which presently consists of inconvertible tankers with approximately the same weight and carrying capacity. Nordic Passat, Nordic Moon, Nordic Cosmos and Apollo are some of the biggest tankers with a DWT of more than 160,000 million tonnes.
12. Overseas Shipholding Group
Based in Tampa, Florida, Overseas Shipholding Group is a transportation company delivering crude oil, petroleum products and liquified natural gas across the world. It was established in 1948 and ranks among the top 12 tanker shipping companies with a revenue of 355 million dollars and assets worth 1.24 billion dollars.
The company grew under the supervision of Raphael Recanati by purchasing tankers for transporting oil from Alaska to the major US cities. In the mid-1990s, it also entered the luxury cruise ship market which resulted in significant losses for the company.
Today its commercial tanker fleet comprises 24 oil tankers, a few oil barges and product carriers with a capacity of around 12 million DWT, sailing under the flag of the United States and some other countries. The company operates its tankers in the spot market while chartering a few to government bodies and reputed shipping companies. It has offices in many cities of the US such as Newark, Florida and over 1000 onshore and offshore employees.
OSG has a fleet of 110 vessels comprising bulk carriers, container ships, shuttle tankers, medium-range tankers, etc however the majority of the company’s revenue comes from the transportation of oil.
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Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader.