North Sea Oil-Tanker Rates Surge as Storms Delay Ships and Ports

Rates for shipping crude oil in Europe’s North Sea jumped the most since at least the start of this year amid storms that delayed tankers and disrupted ports.

Charter prices for Aframax tankers shipping 80,000 metric tons of oil from Sullom Voe in Scotland to Wilhelmshaven in Germany jumped 30 percent to 117.25 Worldscale points, according to the Baltic Exchange, a London-based publisher of shipping costs on more than 50 trade routes. The tankers’ daily earnings surged to $29,771 a day, the bourse’s data show.

“The present weather in the North Sea are causing delays in all our operations,” John Dalsvaag, the vice president for chartering at Knutsen OAS Shipping in Haugesund, Norway, the world’s second-largest operator of tankers shuttling oil from offshore installations, said by e-mail today. “This time of the year it is common to see such delays.”

A storm named Xaver hit Scotland yesterday, paralyzing the rail network before heading south and across the North Sea to the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. The weather system reached the Baltic this morning, where it will abate, according to the German Weather Service.

Hamburg, Germany’s biggest port, recorded its heaviest storm surge in 37 years as the low-pressure weather system swept through, according to Hamburg’s interior ministry. The U.K. ports of Grangemouth and Immingham both experienced flooding, according to Inchcape Shipping Services, a port agent.

Shipping costs to North West Europe from the Baltic Sea climbed 18 percent to 83.5 Worldscale points, according to the Baltic Exchange.

Worldscale points are a percentage of a nominal rate for more than 320,000 specific routes. Flat rates for every voyage, quoted in U.S. dollars a ton, are revised annually by the Worldscale Association in London to reflect changing fuel costs, port tariffs and exchange rates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alaric Nightingale in London at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stuart Wallace at swallace6@bloomberg.net

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