06 August 2012 19:27 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Chemical tanker arrivals in July on the Houston Ship Channel doubled year on year from surging gasoline and other petroleum product shipments, sources said on Monday.
The number of chemical ships that entered the Texas waterway in July totalled 124, compared with 62 vessels counted in July 2011, according to data from the Greater Houston Port Bureau (GHPB), which tracks ship movements on the channel.
July marked the tenth straight month of big gains for such ships
The bureau's arrival data is a measure of overall ship traffic on the Houston waterway.
During the three-month May through July period, chemical tanker arrivals on the Houston channel increased by nearly 93% compared with the same period of 2011, according to the GHPB data.
The July gain marked the tenth straight month of big gains for such ships, extending a trend that began in late summer 2011 of higher traffic on the channel from a boost in refined products and chemical shipments.
The big volumes on the ship channel come from the intake of crude oil and the export of clean petroleum products (CPP) such as gasoline and diesel, said a shipping source at a major chemical terminal.
The source said exports to Mexico, Brazil and other points in South America are pushing the heavy traffic.
“It’s just unbelievable,” the source said. “That’s where the big volumes are, the cheap crude coming into Houston and then to the refineries, then going out in exports as gasoline and diesel.”
Another source said refinery shutdowns earlier this year in the US Virgin Islands and Aruba continue to drive CPP volumes.
The rise in chemical tanker arrivals showed bigger gains by far than any other vessel category from January through July.
Crude tanker traffic, which accounts for the greatest number of ships, declined by 19% in the first seven months, to 1,772 tankers this year compared with 2,192 tankers in the first seven months of 2011, according to the GHPB data.
($1 = €0.81)
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