March chem tanker traffic slips in Houston, ends 17-month streak

08 April 2013 23:47  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Chemical tanker arrivals on the Houston Ship Channel showed a slight decline in March, ending 17 months of big year-on-year gains, according to data released on Monday.

The count of chemical tanker arrivals on the ship channel totalled 129 in March, down about 3% from 133 in the same month of 2012, according to data from the Greater Houston Port Bureau (GHPB), which tracks traffic on the waterway.

Chemical tanker arrivals on the channel had posted double-digit percentage gains every month since September 2011 because of a boost in refined products and chemical shipments.

Warner Welch, deputy director of the US Coast Guard’s vessel traffic service, said he had heard ship pilots recently discussing the traffic decline. Welch said he had not heard of any definite reason for the slippage.

“Nothing major, that I’m aware of,” he said. “To me, that’s not a whole lot. It could be just a few ships that didn’t come in.”

Crude tanker traffic, which accounts for the greatest number of ships on the channel, continued to fall.

The count of oil tanker arrivals fell by about 31% in March year on year to 208 vessels, compared with 303 tankers in March 2012, according to the GHPB data.

Total ship arrivals on the channel also declined by almost 12% to 684 vessels in March from 775 in March 2012.

By: Lane Kelley
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