A booming global shipping industry needs fuel to succeed. Image source: Getty Images.

What happened

The past few days have seen a massive rise in the market capitalizations of oil shipping stocks, container shipping stocks, and dry bulk carriers -- mostly tied to gains in the Baltic Dry Index (BDI). Today, we saw a tack-on effect as shares of Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE:ANW) took off as well. As of 12:30 p.m. EST, Aegean Marine Petroleum stock was up 9.3%.

So what

Not a shipper itself, Aegean Marine Petroleum supplies -- surprise! -- petroleum fuel to power ocean-going vessels run by other operators. And it turns out to be a pretty nice business to be in.

Yesterday, Aegean Marine reported its fiscal third-quarter 2016 earnings, showing revenue up 5.4% year over year, and earnings per diluted share up 57%!

Now what

How'd it do that? While cost of revenue grew in tandem with revenue, Aegean made good progress in whittling away at its selling and distribution costs, with the result that operating profits jumped 27%. Higher taxes, offset by lower financing costs, resulted in the even bigger win on the bottom line.

As for what happens next, Aegean Marine President E. Nikolas Tavlarios noted that he's still seeing "slowness" among containership traffic. On the other hand, continued strength on the BDI (now sitting at 1,145, and up 26% since the election) suggests dry bulk traffic could be growing again soon, requiring more fuel to power it -- and powering Aegean Marine's profits in the process.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of, nor is he short, any company named above. You can find him on Motley Fool CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he currently ranks No. 314 out of more than 75,000 rated members.

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