Athens: Product tankers taking gasoline from Europe to the US East Coast are currently fixing at the highest rate seen so far this year, around worldscale 205, which has grown by 37.7 points since Monday.
Spot rates on the TC2 benchmark route are flirting with the Baltic Exchange International Tanker Routes’ (BITR) record high of WS 226.10, seen in 2014.
July has seen a record number of spot fixtures on the TC2 route and the bull run could last into August, according to Florida-based shipbroker Southport Maritime.
“We are already seeing USAC/ECC [US Atlantic Coast/East Coast Canada] positions ballast towards the steamy market off the Continent,” the broker said in a report today.
No ballasters are yet reported to have moved to the Americas from West Africa, which would remove those in the Continent and Mediterranean regions.
US demand for gasoline is reported to be at its highest level since 2007, and refineries in the country are running at their optimum utilisation rate.
Mexico and Venezuela are both reportedly experiencing refinery maintenance issues, which has also employed product tankers to meet this jump in demand.
For now, however, the market looks like it is about to take a breather and soften as more free tonnage enters the market. There have been around 14 fixtures for trans-Atlantic voyages from Europe so far this week, compared with 17 at the same point last week.