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US west coast gasoline imports from Europe set for record April

Gasoline imports into the US West Coast from Europe are set to hit a record in April as area refinery shutdowns have tightened supplies and boosted prices, according to Refinitiv Eikon ship data.

Imports were on track to total 2.17 million barrels in April, most since at least November 2015, the earliest Refinitiv data available. Most of the barrels were coming from the Netherlands. The West Coast has been affected this season by planned and unplanned refinery shutdowns and Midwest floods preventing ethanol from reaching California, which is geographically isolated in terms of pipelines and energy infrastructure.

That amount represents a roughly eightfold increase from the 251,200 barrels sent in April 2018. An additional 31,800 barrels per day (bpd) have already been fixed to sail from Europe to the West Coast in May, according to energy intelligence company Kpler.

Tighter supplies have lifted West Coast fuel prices, encouraging imports. The state’s average was $4.01 a regular gallon as of Tuesday, according to the American Automobile Association, with prices in San Francisco averaging $4.09 a gallon. California’s gasoline prices are currently the highest in the nation, exceeding Hawaii’s, which tend to be higher because of the difficulty of shipping to islands.

Shipowners losing millions by choosing the wrong bunker port

Bunkers are one of the largest costs associated with a voyage, so making the right decisions around it are crucial. Although many shipping companies have dedicated bunker teams, the decision of where to bunker tends to start with the chartering manager during their initial voyage estimation.

Before a vessel becomes open, chartering managers begin to assess multiple voyage options. This typically happens well in advance as an unemployed ship equals unrecoverable earnings (time is a perishable good). For an accurate voyage estimate, chartering managers need to collect information on both the vessel and ports specific to the voyage.

Vessel parameters are often similar for each voyage: max. cargo capacity, bunkers remaining on board [ROB], tank capacities, consumption tables, allowed drafts, planned sailing speeds, etc.

However, voyage parameters are mostly variable and need to be gathered for all voyage options: sea distances, weather forecasts, calling costs, FFA rates and of course, bunker prices.

There are established software solutions for most of the above (e.g. Seametrix or Netpas for sea distances, StormGeo for weather routing, DA Desk or Diabos for calling costs), however bunker prices are more complex as it’s not enough to only check bunkering options at the load and discharge ports.

Four shipping firms opens new container line association

MSC, AP Moller – Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, and Ocean Network Express have officially set up a new container line association. Named Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), the neutral and non-profit association is headquartered in the Netherlands. DCSA will work to develop common information technology standards, aimed at making the industry more competent for both customers and shipping lines.

Establishment of the association follows the receipt of regulatory approvals from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) last month. However, the idea to create a neutral, non-profit association for ocean carriers was first proposed in November.


Italian shipping firm fined $4m in US waste oil dumping case

An Italian shipping company admitted in the US to dumping oily waste and other pollutants at sea rather than paying to dispose of them properly, and will pay a $4 million fine.

US authorities in New Jersey say d’Amico Shipping Italia S.p.A. pleaded guilty Wednesday in Newark to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. The charge involved the oil tanker Cielo di Milano that visited ports in New Jersey, Maryland and Florida multiple times in 2014 and 2015.

The Palermo-based company admitted that the ship’s crew intentionally discharged bilge water and oily waste from the vessel’s engine room into the sea, according to court documents. It also admitted falsifying and destroying records, and lying to the Coast Guard during inspections.

Israeli shipping giant zim joins IBM Maersk blockchain shipping solution ‘tradelens’

Israeli shipping giant ZIM is the latest to join TradeLens, a blockchain-enabled global shipping initiative. Officially announced in August 2018, TradeLens is a blockchain-based digital shipping solution jointly developed by A.P. Moller–Maersk and IBM to enhance the efficiency and security of global trade. It has recorded more than five million shipments to date.

The TradeLens ecosystem has grown to over 100 member organisations, which includes carriers, freight forwarders, customs authorities, port authorities and others. The members get a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality. Moreover, real-time access to shipping data and documents enables members to collaborate more efficiently and with greater certainty.

Dry bulk rates continue to sink into the doldrums

When freight rates are terrible, even a slight improvement seems like an uptick. But a terrible market is still a terrible market. Capesize rates have marginally, slightly, improved… but they’re still dreadful. And the rest of the dry bulk shipping markets are doing their best to impersonate a submarine… they’re all steadily sinking.

Capesize dry bulk shipping markets range

A capesize ship is one that is at least 100,000 deadweight (dwt) although definitions vary from source to source. Industry consensus is that the a typically sized capesize is about 150,000 dwt. At the big Australian iron ore export ports of Dampier, Walcott and Hedland, the range is typically from about 100,000 dwt to about 200,000 dwt, with many berthed ships at about 180,000 dwt. Although Hedland, in particular, can take very large vessels including behemoths of 260,000 dwt. Deadweight is a measure of the weight-carrying capacity of a ship expressed in metric tons. A metric ton equals 2,204.6 U.S. pounds.

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