SSY Base Oil Shipping Report


Editors Note: LubesnGreases is sad to say that the final SSY Base Oil Shipping Report appeared in the Dec. 18 edition of Lube Report Americas, where it has run for 11 years. As SSY explained, Since 2008, SSY Shipbrokers have maintained a close and happy working relationship with Lube Report, a relationship that we look forward to developing further in different ways as our respective businesses evolve.

We would like to express our gratitude to SSY for sharing its valuable insights and to author Adrian Brown – an expert in this field, always professional, ever a gentleman. Its been a pleasure working with you. Adrian is well known in the industry both for his shipping reports and for years of writing widely read base oil reports prior to his days with SSY. He emphasizes that he will remain at SSY focusing on other tasks.

It has been a quiet week out of the U.S., with most December requirements having already been covered. Europe is rather slow, while in Asia there are long lists of December cargoes but no available space.


Demand is fairly steady to the Caribbean for the rest of the month, with pockets of space scattered about. Several traders are looking at covering a tender for 6,000 tons of ethanol into Jamaica which requires delivery by Dec. 20. Traders were meanwhile able to cover a requirement of 17,000 tons of ethanol into Colombia from the U.S. Gulf for the second half of December loading.

An enquiry to ship 2,000 tons of base oils to the Dominican Republic from the U.S. Gulf after Jan. 20 remains outstanding, and there is also an enquiry to ship 5,700 tons of caustic from Houston or Point Comfort, Texas, to Rio Haina, Dominican Republic, and Barranquilla, Colombia, and Puerto Moin, Costa Rica, for the second half of January loading. Around 20,000 tons of molasses were covered from the west coast of Central America to Stockton, California, in the high $40s per metric ton for early January.

Space remains very tight among the regular carriers to South America, and this has permitted a bunch of outsiders to snap up some of the spot cargoes from the U.S. Gulf. One such lifting was for a cargo of paraxylene from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Suape, Brazil, while another was for a cargo of ethylene dichloride to Aratu, Brazil, and Maceio, Brazil. In addition, a third such shipment within December has been fixed. Close to 30,000 cubic meters of ethanol is believed to have been booked U.S. Gulf to North Brazil at $1.5 million to $1.55 million. A the first half of January enquiry for 10,000 to 14,000 tons of paraxylene and 2,500 tons of acetic acid is being circulated into Suape from the U.S. Gulf, while a possible 20,000 tons of clean petroleum has been pushed from the Texas Gulf to Brazil, looking for the next available ship.

There is a lot going on for both December and January on the eastbound routes. Several traders have been checking rates for 5,000-ton parcels of styrene from the U.S. Gulf to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. A large lot of aromatics and other chemicals loaded from Port Arthur, Texas, and Port Neches, Texas, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. Ethanol is again being explored from the U.S. Gulf to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and Dunkirk, France. An enquiry to send caustic into the Baltic or Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam from Freeport, Texas, remains uncovered. Caustic is also being studied from the U.S. Gulf to the Mediterranean for January but seems to be a tender.

A total of around 15,000 tons of glycols were booked from the U.S. Gulf to the Mediterranean by two traders, with levels suspected to be in the mid $60s/t. Further glycol possibilities have been noted from the U.S. Gulf to Turkey, and ethylene dichloride is also being investigated into Spain from the U.S. Gulf. Up to 20,000 tons caustic was quoted from the U.S. Gulf to Conakry, Guinea, for prompt loading. Eighteen tons of palm oil was booked to two ports in the east coast of Central America to Barcelona, Spain, and Ravenna, Italy, for mid $50s/t.

The last bits of December space to Asia are understood to have been picked off, but owners are having to wait for contractual nominations before gaining an idea as to how much space remains for January. Eighteen thousand tons of canola from Vancouver, Canada, to Hong Kong and Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, seems to have gone for close to $60/t. Twenty-three thousand tons of canola from Vancouver to Korea and China was also booked. A further 10,000 tons of canola is believed to be on subjects from Vancouver to the Far East. Around 30,000 to 40,000cbm of ethanol from Clatskanie, Oregon, to Korea and the Philippines was seemingly booked.

Space remains tight among the regular carriers to India and the Middle East Gulf. Styrene remains a possibility, while a tender for 15,000 to 30,000cbm ethanol into India sees many traders trying to supply from the U.S. Gulf.


It has been a quiet week overall in the North Sea and Baltic, with Christmas parties and lunches taking priority over working cargoes. A large number of ships are open prior to Christmas which has brought considerable downwards pressure onto rates, with only a fortunate few fixed into January. It has been noticeable this week how many chemical tankers have actually fixed small clean petroleum voyages due to a lack of alternative cargoes. A 3,750 tons base oil cargo to Uddevalla, Sweden, was heard to have been worked at under $100,000, while 2,600 tons to Nynashamn, Sweden, commanded $120,000.

It has been an unexciting week southbound, and owners have a lot of space to fill before year-end. Styrene was quoted into Turkey by several traders. Attempts to ship caustic into the East Mediterranean have continued. Larger slugs of biodiesel have been moving into the West Mediterranean and there have been a couple of cargoes each of 5,000 tons benzene into Spain. Paraxylene has been noted going to Algeciras, Spain, while parcels of aniline, octene and acrylonitrile have been pushed around into Spain.

Northbound continues to out-perform southbound in terms of spot activity. Cargoes of pyrolysis gasoline, toluene and FAME have been seen from southern Spain. There has been caustic from France to Kokkola, Finland; Kotka, Finland; the UK; Ghent, Belgium; and northern France as well as pyrolysis gasoline from Berre, France. Ten thousand tons of biodiesel fixed from Gela, Italy, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and 4,000 tons of toluene and solvent naphtha C9 was tried from Priolo, Italy, to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam.

Five thousand tons of pyrolysis gasoline fixed from Italy to Rotterdam while 4,000 tons of base oils were attempted from Augusta, Sicily, to Rotterdam. A steady stream of pyrolysis gasoline, C5, naphtha, light cycle oil, benzene, toulene, and xylene, reformate and FAME has been moving from Kulevi, Georgia; Aliaga, Turkey; Constanza, Romania; Haifa, Israel; and Varna, Bulgaria. Clean petroleum levels remain strong with 15,000 tons of naphtha from Spain to northwestern Europe paying $500,000.

It has been another slow week in the Mediterranean, with the West Mediterranean in particular burdened with excess tonnage. The East Mediterranean and Black Sea on the other hand have been busy with many spot requirements noted. Bad weather has caused delays in several ports, and industrial action in France has also caused disruption and cancellations. Rates for small clean petroleum shipments remain firm. Traders are looking to send base oils into Morocco.

Prompt space is still relatively scarce westbound, but demand has dropped off compared to last week. A few traders are still investigating pyrolysis gasoline in one form or another. Paraxylene has been booked across from Aliaga, with more paraxylene seen from Kulevi, while mixed xylenes was worked from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. A cargo of toluene concluded out of the Mediterranean and a wax shipment is thought to have fixed from Augusta. Nine thousand tons of caustic was spotted from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam to the U.S. Atlantic Coast and Canada. More sulphuric acid was circulated from the Baltic and Samsun, Turkey, while molasses were pushed from Gdansk, Poland, to Montreal and a urea ammonia nitrate contract of affreightment was quoted from Sillamae, Estonia. Thirty-three thousand tons of urea ammonia nitrate from Sillamae to Stockton attained $59/t.

A couple of outsiders are looking to go on berth in Asia for the end of the month and early January, but a lack of firm business has thwarted their plans so far. Styrene has been circulated again from Gonfreville, France, and Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. It is thought that base oils were fixed out of Kavkaz, Russia, and Kaliningrad, Russia. Sixteen thousand tons of methanol was quoted from Arzew, Algeria, to China with others looking at Merak, Indonesia, discharge instead. Forty thousand tons of vegetable oil from two Black Sea ports to two China ports achieved $62-63/t. Three thousand tons of octene Tarragona, Spain, to Map Ta Phut, Thailand, fetched around $180/t. Two thousand tons of base oils were quoted from Antwerp to Nantong, China, and 6,000 to 11,000 tons of cumene was heard looking for space from Huelva, Spain, to China.

The situation to India and the Middle East Gulf is fairly stable. Several ships have completion space, but there are still cargoes outstanding that have yet to be covered.


A staggering volume of chemicals are being quoted in Northeast Asia, almost all of which are seeking December space. However, there are very few ships available, and this is causing freights to sky-rocket. In addition to the chemical market, a lot of small clean petroleum cargoes have been noted out of Korea.

Prompt space is tight soutbound, although several vessels can accommodate end of December cargoes. Parcels of styrene have been noted to Map Ta Phut and Bangkok, and there have been some base oils from Onsan, Korea. A bunch of methyl tertiarybutyl ether possibilities have been seen from Taiwan. Clean petroleum cargoes have also been seeking space from Korea to Vietnam and the Philippines.

Demand has picked up northbound, particularly for cargoes of aromatics. Some of the paraxylene and benzene cargoes from Brunei are starting to gain traction, while other aromatics have been spot-fixed out of Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. Parcels of tertiary butyl ether, pyrolysis gasoline, unconverted oil, base oil, glycerine, fatty alcohol and oxo-alcohols have been circulated this week.

A greater number of December requirements have been detected in Southeast Asia this week, causing space to tighten through to end-month. Several shipments of benzene, paraxylene and mixed xylenes have been covered. A couple of base oil cargoes have been attempted from Singapore, as well as across-harbor Singapore. In addition, there are small lots of biodiesel and oleo-chemicals looking for space. The oil markets remain firm and there are numerous clean petroleum cargoes to keep the handy-sized fleet occupied.

Spot volumes on the transpacific route are subdued, although contractual liftings are performing well and have absorbed much of the available space for the next month or so ahead. Sulphuric acid movements continue to soak up stainless space to the east coast and west coast of South America. The market to Europe is tight on space for the next couple of weeks, and owners have been able to push through further freight increases. Biofuels occupy a substantial portion of space on this trade lane. There have also been shipments of vinyl acetate monomer, acetic acid and solvents into the Mediterranean.

Demand is strong in the regional market, with a significant amount of cross-flow cargo, such as benzene and pyrolysis gasoline into the Middle East Gulf, while styrene, methanol, linear alkyl benzene, caustic, glycol, ethylene dichloride, paraxylene and base oil are being sent to India from the Red Sea and Middle East Gulf. Phosphorous acid movements have also been noteworthy from Aqaba, Jordan, and Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia.

Eastbound remains firm, with substantial volumes of usual grades being shipped, leaving only a limited amount of December space. Westbound traffic has been heavy, with sizeable cargoes of aromatics being shipped, including 23,000 tons to the U.S. in the mid $60s/t region. Two thousand five hundred tons of base oils from Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, to Alexandria, Egypt, finally fixed, with levels of $107/t heard. More caustic is being attempted into the Mediterranean.

This report was originally featured in the December 18 edition of Lube Report Americas.

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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