(Bloomberg) — Soaring shipping costs come with skyrocketing bills for ships that do nothing.
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In the tanker market, daily rates for delayed ships — think taxis waiting with the meter on — have now reached around $100,000, according to traders and ship brokers.
These waiting charges are called demurrage, and it is not uncommon for delays to reach seven to ten days in some places, eroding the profits of physical oil transactions.
Such delays are not unusual when factors like bad North Sea weather make shipments too risky or Covid controls slow logistics at Chinese ports.
Recently, two ships due to load Forties oil at a terminal on the Scottish coast were delayed for nearly a week, according to people familiar with the matter. Another, filled with crude from Kazakhstan, has been waiting near the Netherlands since November 10.
The world’s tanker fleet has been increasingly strained by Europe’s impending embargo on Russian oil, forcing cargoes to travel greater distances. It has also made it difficult to find replacement vessels at short notice, as demand is effectively driven by longer voyages.
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