Middle East-to-northeast Asia freights to surge on tight tonnage

20 January 2011 10:24  [Source: ICIS news]

Mideast to NE Asia freight rates surgeSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Freights for spot shipments from the Middle East to northeast (NE) Asia in February may touch $60/tonne (€44/tonne), representing a sharp increase of about $10/tonne from spot rates quoted in December, industry sources said on Thursday.

A vessel owner was heard negotiating a cargo booking for 17,000 tonnes of mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) from Assaluyeh to eastern China for February loading.

A charterer’s freight ideas were heard in the high $40/tonne levels, but the owner was firm on fixing at $57-58/tonne, sources said.

“We believe the charterer may eventually fix at our levels but we are waiting for [its] final decision,” the vessel owner said.

The regional vessel owner had fully booked February Contract of Affreightment (COA) cargoes and has no balance space for spot cargoes.

“We are seeing spot chemicals enquiries for 17,000-20,000 tonnes [of] methanol and/or mono-ethylene glycol, but we are fully booked for February,” the owner added.

Contributing to rising freights was the lack of prompt vessel space in the Middle East as most vessels were delayed on their return journey from northeast Asia.

The delays were due to backlogs in eastern China ports. In Ningbo, the average waiting time to unload a cargo was around 5-10 days, according to a Chinese shipping agent, citing suspension of port operations due to bad weather.

In other key chemical ports along the Yangtze river, the waiting time was around three to five days, the agent said.

A cargo booking for 15,000-20,000 tonnes of chemicals from the Middle East to eastern China was provisionally fixed at $72/tonne, but the fixture failed to eventually materialise, according to an industry source.

($1 = 0.74)

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By: Lester Teo

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