SSY Base Oil Shipping Report


The U.S. Gulf has been slightly busier, which has eliminated a large part of the additional space. European markets have been chugging along reasonably satisfactory. Asia looks quieter because of all the public holidays.


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The market to the Caribbean is beginning to look congested. In addition to several prompt 20,000 dwt stainless ships that are looking for opportunistic cargoes, regular carriers in the region will shortly be joined by several ships that have spent the summer months trading in Canada. A number of cargoes such as paraxylene, urea ammonia nitrate and caustic have been quoted from the U.S. Gulf to Canada for October and may see some of these ships return to Canada for a while. Traders are looking at 6,000 tons of ethanol from Texas City, Texas, to Colombia for October. A new tender has been issued for the prompt supply of 1,350 tons base oils into Rio Haina, Dominican Republic. Five thousand seven hundred tons of methanol was quoted from Point Lisas, Trinidad and Tobago, to Houston.

The South American route is primarily being serviced by scheduled carriers, some of which have part-cargo space to offer for market enquiries. It has emerged that 3,000 tons of base oils from Pascagoula, Mississippi, to Rio de Janeiro went in the low-$70s per metric ton. Two thousand tons of hexane was quoted from Houston to Rio Grande, Brazil, for prompt loading and 10,000 tons of urea ammonia nitrate was seen from Donaldsonville, Louisiana, to Santos, Brazil, for mid-October. Others booked a ship to take 38,000 tons of urea ammonia nitrate from Donaldsonville to Argentina.

Demand seems to be reasonably healthy across the Atlantic. Seventeen thousand to 23,000 tons of methanol was seen from the Caribbean to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and the Baltic for mid-October, with a further 25,000 tons of methanol from Trinidad to the United Kingdom quoted for October. Styrene continues to be quoted on the route, with 5,000-ton parcels noted from Houston and St. James, Louisiana, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, with 5,000 tons seemingly fixed in the low $50s/t for early October. Further styrene shipments have been quoted from the U.S. Gulf to Turkey by a large number of traders. More caustic has been quoted from the U.S. Gulf to Finland and 11,000 tons of ethanol from Texas City to Thames, U.K., or Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam was heard fixed for mid- to high-$40s off Oct. 7-15. Six thousand tons of tall oil loaded from Savannah, Georgia, to Bordeaux, France. Three thousand to 5,000 tons of aromatics were quoted from Sarnia, Canada, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam for any October loading.

Not a great deal is happening on the spot market to Asia. Contractual demand has taken out a large proportion of October space, but this still leaves room for spot opportunities. Sixteen thousand tons of used cooking oil and tallow from the U.S. Atlantic Coast and Mississippi to Singapore was put on subjects in the low-$80s/t, but subsequently re-fixed on two bottoms in the high-$70s/t. Five thousand tons of styrene was mentioned from Mississippi to Mainport Far East for Oct. 10-20. Traders have been looking at 20,000 tons of caustic from the U.S. Gulf to Southeast Asia.

Traders have been checking rates on 10,000 tons of styrene from the U.S. Gulf to the west coast of India, but nothing seems to have happened on that cargo. Instead, 10,000 tons of glycols were quoted from the U.S. Gulf to India for October. There has also been interest from traders to send 10,000-15,000 tons of ethanol to Pipavav, India, in the first half of October in response to a tender. The 10,000-12,000 tons of base oils from Houston to the west coast of India for Oct. 5-15 seem not to have been covered so far. Several traders are looking at sending big lots of caustic to Mombasa, Kenya, and Durban, South Africa, but the cargo has also been quoted from the Middle East Gulf.


Activity tailed off in the North Sea and Baltic a bit this week. Most owners have been able to maintain a forwards program of around 3-7 days for their ships, but since most vessels are open around about the same time, competition for cargoes can be fierce. Contractual demand is quite heavy and has produced further relet possibilities. Biofuels continue to dominate the spot market on this route, but there have been some base oils mentioned coming down from the Baltic. The next shipment of base oils was booked from Le Havre, France, to Amsterdam for loading Oct. 5-10.

Business is running well into the Mediterranean. Several large biodiesel shipments were booked into the West Mediterranean, and a couple more were sent into the Black Sea. Caustic has contributed heavily to the southbound market with something like five large cargoes fixed into the East Mediterranean. Five thousand tons of ethylene dichloride has still to fix from Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Turkey, and there has been a bit of interest in styrene into Turkey. Eight hundred tons of base oils were put on subjects from Rotterdam to Gebze, Turkey, and 1,200 tons of ethyl acetate concluded from Saltend, U.K., to Gebze. Small lots of acetic acid, acrylonitrile and octene were booked into Spain and Portugal. Twelve thousand to 13,000 tons of methyl tertiarybutyl ether was quoted from Rotterdam to Fos, France, and 3,000 tons of aniline was attempted from Antwerp, Belgium, to Tarragona, Spain. One thousand six hundred tons of ammonium polyphosphate from Sillamae, Estonia, to Ravenna, Italy, finally went on the back of a larger shipment of paraxylene and paraffins from Kotka, Finland, into the Mediterranean.

Northbound trade can best be described as steady. Seven thousand tons of benzene is under consideration from Skikda, Algeria, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. Eleven thousand five hundred tons of pyrolysis gasoline from Tarragona to Antwerp went for a competitive rate of $230,000. Five thousand seven hundred tons of pyrolysis gasoline was booked from Berre, France, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and another pyrolysis gasoline cargo is being studied from Constanza, Romania. Several traders are checking small parcels of aromatics from Algeciras, Spain, and 7,000 tons of toluene and mixed xylenes was quoted from Leixoes, Portugal, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. Five thousand tons of caustic fixed from Lavera, France, to Cardiff, Wales, seemingly for 35/t.

Unusually for the end of the month trade did not gather pace, and there are even a few prompt ships scattered around the West Mediterranean. The East Mediterranean is starting to be more productive on the vegetable oil front. Eight thousand tons of caustic fixed from Odessa, Ukraine, to Lavera and there have been some biodiesel shipments from Varna, Bulgaria, and the Adriatic. Two thousand tons of ETBE from Fos to Taranto, Italy, paid around 55/t, and 2,500 tons of methyl tertiarybutyl ether from Fos to Ravenna paid 110,000. Five thousand tons of styrene was quoted from Tarragona to Yumurtalik, Turkey. Several relet possibilities were noted from Algeciras.

It is not exactly active, but a few traders have been checking levels on shipments of pyrolysis gasoline and benzene to the U.S. Gulf. Ten thousand to 15,000 tons of paraxylene was booked from Rotterdam to the east coast of Mexico. One thousand five hundred to 3,000 tons of aviation gas is looking for space from Rotterdam to Houston. Eight thousand tons of caustic was attempted from Rotterdam to the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Three thousand tons of MDI was seen from Tarragona to Houston and a November requirement of 3,000 tons of aniline from Rotterdam to Houston was quoted. Five thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline from Rotterdam to the U.S. Gulf is rumoured fixed in the mid-$40s/t. Four thousand tons of used lubes from Rotterdam to Tampa, Florida, were looking to ship for the end of October. Ten thousand to 15,000 tons of ultra-low-sulfur diesel from Flushing, Netherlands, to Houston is still uncovered. Ten thousand to 12,000 tons methanol was quoted from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to Chesapeake, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina.

A few more possibilities to the Far East have popped up this week. Styrene has been quoted from both Gonfreville, France, and Antwerp, while 7,000 tons of styrene was booked from Tarragona to China, with an option for India. Three thousand tons of octene concluded from Tarragona to Map Ta Phut, Thailand. Parcels of acetone and oxo-alcohols were noted, and 1,500 tons of butanediol fixed from Rotterdam to Dongnai, Vietnam.

The India and Middle East Gulf route is over-supplied with vessels all looking to re-position away from Europe. The 7,350 tons of base oils to solvents combination to the Red Sea and Middle East Gulf was booked A possible benzene cargo was looked at to the Middle East Gulf and some small parcels of oxo-alcohols were covered into Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. Ten thousand to 15,000 tons of caustic was quoted from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to Port Khalifa, United Arab Emirates.


With China closed Oct. 1-7 due to national holidays, very little new business will occur. Moreover, owners have been obliged to take into account berthing restrictions that have been in place at certain Chinese ports for ships carrying hazardous chemical cargoes. A further complication is Typhoon Mitag that is approaching the area. Inevitably, all this will cause disruption to the planning of both fleets and cargoes well into October. In the run-up to the holidays, cargoes of toluene, glycol, methyl tertiarybutyl ether, base oil, solvent naphtha C9, acetone, phenol and benzene were noted.

The southbound route is pretty quiet. Some caustic was heard fixed and small shipments of base oils were seen. Three thousand tons of soybean oil was quoted from Qingdao, China, to Hong Kong. Five thousand tons of sodium hypochlorite was seen from Daesan, South Korea, to Singapore for Oct. 21-25.

The market northbound is mixed. There are prompt non-approved ships around, whereas other owners are booked through until late October and even some vessels covered into November. Space seems to be tight from Thailand. Fifteen thousand tons of base oils from Dumai, Indonesia, to Nantong, China, remain unfixed. Ten thousand tons of paraxylene was booked into China, and 11,000 tons of benzene was covered from Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, to Ningbo, China. The next lifting of 6,000 tons of unconverted oil from Bangkok to Ulsan, South Korea, has been quoted for Oct. 21-25 loading. Four glycerine requirements have been pushed into China from Straits for October loading.

The spot market is rather quiet in Southeast Asia, although it is still pretty busy for contract holders. A couple of base oil cargoes were heard to have fixed from Thailand to Singapore. Twelve thousand tons of biodiesel was quoted from East Malaysia to China for mid-October and a bunch of small acid oil movements were noted.

Spot demand remains flat on the Transpacific route, although owners have yet to concede any more freight reductions. The market to Europe has strengthened due to a massive amount of biofuels activity that has depleted much of the available space. Six thousand tons of benzene from Map Ta Phut to Gonfreville was heard to have been worked at $110/t. Eight thousand tons of base oils from Malacca, Malaysia, to Genoa, Italy, and Antwerp obtained rates in the $90s/t.

Demand appears to be steady on the regional trades, and rates are unchanged. Four thousand tons of linear alkyl benzene from Mesaieed, Qatar, to Mundra, India, was heard to have fixed in the mid-$30s/t. A number of base oil opportunities have been noted from Al Ruwais, U.A.E.; Yanbu, Saudi Arabia; and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Eastbound is described as uneventful, and several larger ships have space, making it difficult for smaller ships to compete. A couple of ships have also booked molasses cargoes from India which is usually a sign of poor market conditions from the Middle East Gulf. Westbound space is limited. More caustic is quoted to Turkey, Durban and Mombasa, while benzene was seen from Yanbu and ethanol from Karachi, Pakistan.

Adrian Brown, a senior market analyst for chemicals and base oils with SSY Shipbrokers, London, can be reached atfix@ssychems.comor +44 12 0750 7507. Information about SSY can be found In the Houston office,Steve Rosenthalof SSY’s Chemical Tanker Department can be reached directly at +1 (713) 652-2700 and Jordi Maymi in Singapore can be reached at +65 6854-7127.

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