The swift reintroduction of international travel bans to stem the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has derailed the already faltering turnaround in rates and earnings for the global tanker market.
In November it looked like a cold winter and rising international air travel in the New Year would lead a long-anticipated recovery. Now, a new coronavirus variant that first emerged in South Africa in the final weeks of 2021 injects fresh doubt.
Eleven of the world’s largest listed tanker companies reported collective losses exceeding $400m over the July-through-September period, after spot rates averaged the lowest in nearly three decades. Total losses for the first nine months of 2021 surpassed $1bn.