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MEDIUM RANGE FREIGHT RATES TOUCH YEAR LOW

Freight rates for Medium Range tankers have dropped and are again teetering on the edge of year-low levels a few weeks into the fourth quarter, with over tonnage pervasive and the gasoline arbitrage route westwards unattractive to traders as US stocks keep building. While the arb to the US is deemed to be “marginally” open, according to a trader, other routes out of Northwest Europe, such as trips to West Africa and the Persian Gulf, have taken a fair bit of the gasoline trade so far in October.

The UK Continent-US Atlantic coast route, basis 37,000 mt, dropped to Worldscale 100 Tuesday as the Hafnia Andromeda was heard on subjects to Spain’s Cepsa loading 37,000 mt of gasoline in Algeciras October 24 for a trans-Atlantic voyage at that level.

BALTIC INDEX UP FOR TENTH CONSECUTIVE SESSION

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose for a tenth straight session on Tuesday, as rates increased across all vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, was up 29 points, or 1.9 percent, at 1,552 points, a peak not touched since March 2014. The capesize index climbed 99 points, or 3.32 percent, to close at 3,079 points.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were up $718 at $21,689. The panamax index rose 14 points, or 0.86 percent, to 1,651 points, the highest level since January 2014.

BASRAH LIGHT CONTINUES TO COMPRISE BULK OF IMPORTS FROM MIDDLE EAST

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port’s blended crude LOOP Sour has tended to become heavier but also sweeter recently as Iraqi Basrah Light continues to comprise the bulk of Middle East crudes that can be delivered into the cavern, according to data published Monday by LOOP. LOOP Sour delivered ex-cavern over the past week has had an average API of 29.44 and sulfur content of 2.4percent, LOOP said Monday. That compares with a 12-month average of 30.12 and 2.55percent. The blend becoming heavier can likely be explained by a larger amount of one of its five component crudes making its way into the blend.

EXPANDED PANAMA CANAL SETS REGISTER CARGO TONNAGE IN FY17

In its fiscal year 2017, ended 30 September 30 2017, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) set record cargo tonnage of 403.8m Panama Canal tonnes (PC/UMS), the highest cargo tonnage ever transited in its 103-year history. The 22.2percent increase from the previous year can be directly attributed to the added capacity provided by the expanded Canal, said the ACP.

A total of 13,548 vessels transited during FY17, representing a 3.3percent increase compared to totals the year before. Thanks to the larger post-panamax vessels now able to transit the expanded canal, the growth in traffic of 22.2percent surpassed the already ambitious cargo projection of 399M PC/UMS the ACP had forecast for FY2017.

“This year’s success is a testament to the expanded canal’s success,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano. “These record figures reflect not only the industry’s confidence in the expanded Canal, but also illustrate the Panama Canal’s continued ability to transform the global economy and revitalise the maritime industry.”

HONG KONG CONTAINER VOLUME UP 7.5 PERCENT

Hong Kong’s container volume surged 7.5 per cent in September to 1.84 million TEU compared to 1.71 million TEU in the same month last year, according to statistics from the Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board. Most of Hong Kong’s volume is from the container terminals at Kwai Tsing that handled 1.43 million boxes in September, an increase of 12.4 per cent over the same month last year. However, boxes handled by the other terminals in Hong Kong dipped 6.5 per cent to 410,000 TEU compared to 430,000 TEU in September, 2016. Export and import container units surged in September with outbound containers totalling 687,000 TEU, a year-on-year increase of 13.1 per cent. Imports totalled 743,000 TEU, 11.7 per cent higher than in September last year.

CONTAINER VOLUMES AT NON-MAJOR PORTS UP 20PC

Container volumes at non-major ports such as Mundra, Pipavav, Hazira and Katupalli have registered a combined compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 per cent to 4.5 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) between 2012-17 as against a meager two per cent CAGR from 7.7 million to 8.4 million TEUs by major ports in the period under review, Icra said in its report. Thus, major ports have underperformed in comparison to non-major ports during this period. Overall, container volumes at Indian ports registered a CAGR of about 7 per cent for the last five years, said Icra research note.

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