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TIN news:       Medium Range clean tanker rates in the Americas shot to new 2015 highs Friday, with no let-up in chartering inquiries throughout the week and fast diminishing tonnage in the Caribbean and US Gulf Coast.
“The market is insane,” said one shipbroker.
“The markets in the US Gulf and Europe are on fire,” said another source. “There’s a lot of cargoes and not many ships…until about the 20th, the [USGC] list is very tight.”
Reflecting this, AIC was heard Friday to have placed the Camilla Maersk on subjects for a USGC-trans Atlantic voyage, loading July 19-21, at w155.
The USGC-UK Continent route, basis 38,000 mt, was assessed at w155, up 32.5 points from Thursday. That is the highest the rate has been since last December, according to Platts data.
The freight rate on the key trans-Atlantic voyage has been jumping steadily throughout the week, gaining 50 points since closing at w105 on Monday.
Bullish sentiment prevailed throughout the week, with a rush of MR stems coming into the market following a slow end to the previous week and a long holiday weekend in the US. With some vessels ballasting to the UK Continent last week, and tonnage fast depleting in the Americas this week, shipowners have been been able to push for higher rates across the board, sources said.
At least nine MR cargoes were heard working in the Americas Friday, either for loading in the Gulf Coast or the Caribbean. A gasoline shortage in Mexico is also prompting additional export volumes from the Gulf Coast.
Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex said earlier this week it has planned “additional volumes of gasoline imports in order to regularize supplies” in several states.
Long lines have formed in recent weeks at service stations, with Pemex citing several factors for the shortages, including a new billing system that has failed to register the orders made by service stations for new supplies, a major turnaround at the Cadereyta refinery and an increase in the illegal siphoning of gasoline from pipelines.
On Friday, at least two cargoes were heard working with Mexico discharge options, including PMI with a USGC-East Coast Mexico cargo loading July 15-17 and Noble with a July 17-19 USGC-loading cargo with East Coast Mexico, West Coast Mexico and trans-Atlantic discharge options.
Clean tanker MR rates on other routes in the Americas also reached new highs Friday.
The USGC-Brazil and USGC-Argentina routes, basis 38,000 mt, were assessed at w205y, up 25 points from Thursday and the highest the rates have been since Platts started assessing both routes on August 1, 2014.
“The Brazil market is crazy high. There is a Petrobras cargo out and they are getting offers over w200. I don’t think they’re going to be able to do anything less than w210 or w215,” said a shipbroker.
Petrobras has typically been paying a premium on its fixtures since unveiling new charter party terms in December 2014, with the premium varying depending on factors such as tonnage availability.
“The Americas’ market remains very active and tonnage is tight,” a shipbroker said in a report. “Charterers with cargoes before the 18th are having a difficult time covering while owners with tonnage are taking the time to offer in on preferred voyages.
“Rates show no sign of backing off and will remain firm well into next week,” the shipbroker said.
The broker added: “With the Continent market remaining strong, it’s doubtful we see a rush of ballasters enter this market, so without a reduction in cargoes, it’s possible rates remain strong until at least the 25th.”
The huge run-up in the MR freight rates has occurred even with a number of Long Range 1 tankers being placed on subjects this week to move cargoes either to Europe or Asia.
At least four LR1s have been placed on subjects this week for USGC-loading voyages and either East or trans-Atlantic discharge options. Three of the vessels — Tectus, Tonna and Maritina — were heard to be taken for naphtha cargoes, with traders heard to be trying to work the naphtha arbitrage to Asia.
In addition, Vitol was heard to have placed the Nordic Anne on subjects to move an ultra low sulfur diesel cargo on a USGC-trans Atlantic voyage, loading July 17, at w105.
“The MR and LR1s, both are really tight now,” said a source.
The key USGC-UKC route, basis 60,000 mt, was assessed 15 points higher at w115 Friday, highest since January.

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