The main feature that differentiates Product Tankers is their coated cargo tanks. Coating normally involves epoxy-based paint. The aim is to protect cargo holds from accelerating corrosion stemming from the “aggressiveness” of refined petroleum products. Coating also facilitates the cleaning of cargo holds, minimizing cargo contaminations.
The Product Tanker Fleet includes the following categories of vessels, based on their carrying capacity:
Aframax – Long Range 2 (LR2): 90.000 – 120.000 dwt
Panamax – Long Range 1 (LR1): 55.000 – 90.000 dwt
Handymax – Medium Range (MR): 35.000 – 55.000 dwt
a) Long Range 2
Coated Aframax Tankers constitute the youngest category in the Product Tanker Fleet. For the past years, LR2s have been almost exclusively involved in the naphtha shipments from the Middle East to Japan and Korea, mainly for petrochemical production needs.
b) Long Range 1
Coated Panamax Tankers constitute a relatively young category in the Product Tanker Fleet. LR1s are set to assume increasing importance because the significant expansion of refinery capacity both in the Middle East and in India/China. This expansion has been pushing petroleum product exports out of these areas, in growing volumes, both to the West and to the East.
c) Medium Range
Coated Handymax Tankers constitute the most populous category in the Product Tanker Fleet. MRs typically operate in the Atlantic and the Pacific basins. They are mostly engaged in gasoline transport to the US (Gulf and East Coast) from the Caribbean and Europe, as well as to US (West Coast) from Singapore and Korea.