Caribbean tanker rates are set to jump briefly this week because of a lack of available tankers for prompt cargoes, brokers said. "I can see it getting up to W285 ($11.1 per ton) by the end of the week, because there's simply no prompt ships," said a London tanker broker.
U.S. tanker brokers reported that rates had moved up to W275-80 ($10.9 per ton) for 30,000 ton cargoes heading up-coast from Aruba
to New York, compared to W266 the day before. Brokers were divided on whether the Caribbean market would be boosted or diluted by the transatlantic arbitrage, which opened at the end of last week. "The shortage will be swiftly replenished by ships doing the transatlantic arbitrage from Europe, so it won't last long," said the London broker.
But U.S. brokers said that clean tankers had been ballasting across from the U.S. to Europe to take advantage of the arbitrage and this had effectively tightened the Caribbean market.
"I can see the Caribbean going up to W400 if that continues," said one.
Traders said that since the transatlantic arbitrage opened last Thursday, as much as 300,000 tons of European summer grade gasoline had been fixed for shipment to the U.S. Caribbean tanker freight started the year at over W400 ($15 per ton) for 30,000 ton up-coast cargoes, but fell steeply in mid-February to below W270 ($11 per ton).