TANKERS: Premiums rise for Pajaritos, Mexico, loadings on new terminal rules
19th June 2020 03:56 GMT

Shipowners are charging a higher premium from charterers for cargoes loading at the Pajaritos terminal of the Port Coatzacoalcos on Mexico’s Gulf coast, after the terminal started requiring the use of nylon ropes for mooring, sources said.

Before the new requirement was in place, owners typically commanded a Worldscale 2.5 premium over the East Coast Mexico-US Gulf Coast route due to the terminal’s 42-meter beam restriction, which limits the tonnage pool to only smaller Aframaxes.

However, the terminal recently began requiring the use of soft nylon ropes for mooring, as opposed to the more commonly used steel wires, according to sources. The requirement puts additional pressure on owners, who now charge a higher premium to compensate for the cost of the ropes. The additional costs were about $24,000, along with labor charges for the time spent changing the wires for ropes, sources said.

“It takes about 24 hours to put the soft ropes on. Go in, put soft ropes on, leave. On the way, take off soft ropes, put on wires,” an Aframax shipowner said. “The cost of man hours is quite significant,” the shipowner added.

The premium varies according to market conditions, such as the number of ships available and capable to do the trip, as well as the number of charterers seeking Pajaritos-capable tonnage, sources said.

The most recent fixtures showed freight for the Pajaritos-USGC trip trading at parity to the non-Pajaritos ECMex-USGC route. Phillips 66 booked the Grimstad at w70, loading in Pajaritos, and Chevron booked the NS Corona at the same rate, but loading in Dos Bocas.

On June 8, however, a w12.5 premium was seen, when Houston Refining placed a Teekay ship on subjects for the ECMexico-USGC route at w65, while Marathon booked the NS Challenger for the same route, but loading at Pajaritos, at w77.5. This unusually high premium was heard due to limited tonnage in position to dock at the terminal.

Although an official document outlining the requirement has not been issued by the terminal, a Mexico-based ship agent said the restriction was established as an imperative request about a month ago. Exceptions can be obtained only through the granting of a special permission.

The terminal’s decision to require the use of soft ropes was intended to lessen the strain on the docks, which are in poor condition and in need of maintenance, sources said.

“Ropes tend to allow more movement, [whereas] wires put more strain on the docks,” a charterer said. The terminal could not be reached for comment at the time of filing.

Bunkerworld .,
19th June 2020 03:56 GMT