Some 28% of Europe-Bound Jet Imports in March Taking Longer Cape Route

Just over 1.9 million metric tons (about 15 million bbl) of jet fuel is tracked arriving in Europe over March on 30 tankers, with six of the vessels, or 28% of all imports, taking the the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope, according to the OPIS Tanker Tracker.

Exports from Middle East Gulf countries dominate the tally this month, with some 540,000 tons coming from the United Arab Emirates, and about 512,000 tons from Saudi Arabia, information compiled from traders, brokers and vessel satellite-tracking data shows. So far, only two cargoes have been identified from Kuwait, also a dominant supplier of jet fuel to Europe, suggesting the kingdom may have additional tankers coming to the 28 member countries that have yet to be identified.

March arrivals compare to about 1.6 million tons tracked to northwest Europe and the region's ports in the Mediterranean over February.

Monthly volumes averaged 1.8 million tons in 2015, according to data from Eurostat, the European Commission's statistics agency.

Very few vessels are seen in floating storage on tankers at anchor outside the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp trading hub and off Gibraltar. The phenomena peaked in January when as much as 785,000 tons was tracked in floating storage in these
areas. But this was slowly unwound in February as onshore storage in the ARA become more available and vessels discharged their cargoes.

However, six of the 13 Long Range 2 vessels arriving in Europe this month will have taken the longer voyage from the Middle East, Asia, or India to Europe by going around the Cape of Good Hope, instead of taking the conventional, shorter route through the Suez Canal.

Each Long Range 2 tanker can carry 90,000-ton cargoes. The voyage around the African continent takes up to 15-20 days longer than the month-long voyage via the Suez. That allows traders more time to find a buyer, arrange storage, or take advantage of the market contango to use trading strategies that profit from taking a position with a later-priced delivery.

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