The cost of carrying clean petroleum products on Medium Range tankers on the short-haul US Gulf Coast-East Coast Mexico and the USGC-Caribbean routes rose 62% and 33%, respectively, during the week of December 4-8, marking a significant shift in the period after Thanksgiving.
S&P Global Platts assessed the USGC-Caribbean run at $525,000 lump sum on December 7 and 8, up $100,000 from the December 6 assessment and a $175,000 rise from its published price on Monday. Since September 2015, day-on-day increases have only surpassed $100,000 four times.
The most recent position list obtained by Platts on Friday morning showed only three vessels available for prompt loading, and just over 20 for loading before December 18. One week prior, Platts counted nine ships available for prompt loading and around 30 tankers opening on the USGC within 10 days.
“Monday morning at 8 am I called it soft,” a shipbroker said. “However, PMI jumped out and took like 11 ships Monday/Tuesday, and completely cleared out front-end tonnage. There were a lot of prompt ships, but they all got scooped up.”
The situation in Mexico was further complicated by port closures due to bad weather, which prevents ships from docking.
“All of the ports in Mexico are closed, and the conditions at some are really bad,” a shipbroker said. “Tuxpan has been closed since the 6th, and it looks like it won’t open again until tomorrow or Sunday. … Madero is the same. We saw one of the Maersk ships start to drift due to bad weather.”
Freight on the USGC-East Coast Mexico trip was assessed at $300,000 lump sum on Friday, up 62% from the start of the week.
The first broker also pointed to somewhat firm demand.
“There were also just natural cargoes needing coverage, and moreover, TC2 was firm to begin the week and so USAC boats had gone that way.”
According to a shipowner, supply was particularly tight for natural cargoes that needed coverage on key dates.
“There were some requirements, meaning just USGC-Caribbean cargoes, and very thin positions for [December] 10-12,” the source said.
Source: Hellenic Shipping News.