11 June 2009 17:15 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Chemical tonnage moving from the US Gulf (USG) to Asia is tight and freight rates have moved up slightly, a shipowner said on Thursday.
Indeed, the owner said there was no cargo tonnage available until July. "For June, all our ships are full, space is tight," he said.
He said his company had five chemical vessels going to Asia this month and that most of the cargoes were on contract. But 10-15% were spot cargoes of such chemicals as acrylonitrile (ACN), specialty lubes and chlorinated solvents, he added.
The shipowner's comments contrasted with broker sentiment expressed last week. Brokers said that rates were falling due to an oversupply of chemicals in China and the availability of open space.
Brokers said last week that reduced shipping activity on the USG-Asian route had brought a $10/tonne (€7/tonne) reduction in USG-Asia Pacific freight rates to $90-100/tonne on 2,000-tonne shipments. For 5,000-tonne cargoes, rates fell to $70-80/tonne from $80-90/tonne.
One broker said rates could "soften further".
The owner did not disagree with the above rates, though he said 2,000-tonne shipments were slightly above $100/tonne now. "Our contention is that freights are firming," he said.
Another broker disagreed, saying the spring wave of exports to Asia was over and that chemical shipping was entering its typically slow summer season.
"There just isn't that much exporting of petrochemicals going on right now and that's going to bring lower rates," the broker said.
Major shippers who supply multiple vessels for the USG-Asian route are Stolt-Nielsen, Odfjell and Tokyo Marine.
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