U.S.-Asia oil freight rate hits record high amid Chinese tanker sanctions: sources

HOUSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Freight rates for U.S. crude tankers bound for Asia hit an all-time high on Wednesday as U.S. sanctions on a Chinese transport giant cut vessel availability, traders and shipbrokers said. South Korea’s top refiner SK Energy chartered a supertanker, Maxim, to ship U.S. crude to South Korea in November for $10 million, the highest price for a U.S. Gulf-to-Asia shipment ever, two sources familiar with the matter said. SK could not be reached for comment. The United States last week imposed sanctions on two units of China’s COSCO for alleged involvement in ferrying crude out of Iran. That action prompted U.S. Gulf Coast exporters to hold back chartering COSCO-linked vessels, traders and shipbrokers said. One of the units – COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) – owns and manages at least 36 tankers for crude and refined products, including 18 supertankers or very large crude carriers (VLCCs), according to shipping sources and Refinitiv data. Earlier this week, suggested rates for VLCCs, which can carry around 2 million barrels, from the U.S. Gulf Coast to China vaulted to $9.8 million, up from $6.2 million in early September, according to ship broker McQuilling Services. Friday’s highest quote was at $9.5… continue reading

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