Americas Medium Range freight spiked 40% from Wednesday level on the US Gulf Coast-Caribbean route amid apparent short-covering activity ahead of the four-day long US Thanksgiving Holiday weekend starting next Thursday, depleting the open tonnage count on the US Gulf Coast.
“Thanksgiving dates are a rush for people taking the entire week off,” a shipbroker said. “Therefore more will try to get done early due to their extended vacation.”
Busy fixing activity took the tonnage count on the USGC from 40-45 vessels to 20-25 in the natural fixing window from November 12 to November 16, with prompt positions declining from 18 to zero.
“The front end is especially tight, but even the longer view is constrained,” a shipbroker said.
S&P Global Platts pegged freight for the US Gulf Coast-Caribbean voyage at lump sum $700,000 at mid-day Friday, up $200,000 from Wednesday and $75,000 higher than Thursday’s assessment of $625,000. After the Market on Close Thursday, the Seabreeze was placed on subjects for the USGC-Caribbean voyage at lump sum of $680,000.
On the USGC-Brazil route, S&P Global Platts heard freight indications up to w205 Friday, up w40 from Wednesday. Multiple fixtures were reported at w185 Thursday.
Lack of open positions on the USGC could also be due in part to the strengthening of freight on the front-haul UK Continent-US Atlantic Coast, making it less likely for ballasting vessels to go to the US Gulf Coast once open on the USAC. In the last 10 days, freight on the UKC-USAC route peaked at w155 November 9, up w37.5 or 32% since November 5. Yet rates turned south thereafter, with Platts assessing freight for the route at w140 Friday.
“When you look down 10 to 15 days now, ships from South America and Canada aren’t a given for the US Gulf Coast with the Continent doing well,” a shipowner said earlier this month.
Friday, a shipbroker commented this week “has already been the most active week of the year.”
Multiple sources alluded to further increases in Americas Medium Range as charterers cover their stems ahead of the impending holiday.