U.S. Gulf Tanker Rates Climb to Four-Week High on Fewer Vessels

Hire rates for oil tankers heading to Europe from the U.S. Gulf Coast climbed to the highest in four weeks on a shortage of vessels, according to Poten & Partners Inc., a New York-based shipbroker and consultant.

Charter costs for tankers hauling 38,000 metric tons of diesel fuel on the Houston-to-Amsterdam route rose 3.1 percent to 120 industry-standard Worldscale points, the highest since Nov. 20, data from the London-based Baltic Exchange showed today. Refined-oil cargoes, including naphtha and gasoline, shipped to West Africa, Brazil, and Asia curbed ship supply, according to Jeff McGee, head of marine research and consulting at Poten.

“An unusual flow of product cargoes thinned the list of available ships,” McGee said by e-mail today. “It was not really typical diesel cargoes to northwest Europe.”

The U.S.-to-Europe voyage is referred to in the industry as a backhaul trade because tankers carry diesel on return trips after delivering gasoline in the opposite direction.

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