An unusual barging market


After several weeks of a (very) moderate barge market, the situation has dramatically changed. The strong interest in floating storage, mainly for distillates, has captured large barge capacities from the market.

As in previous weeks, the Corona virus caused little interest in fuel, with many barges available against cheap freights. Today, freight rates have risen as floating storage has created a scarcity of available space in the barge market. Although the demand-side of fuel has not shown any signs of improvement yet, finding a barge is more challenging than in previous weeks.

Large barges are hard to source in today’s market, this type of units remaining very appealing when it comes to floating storage. In general, freight has increased by more than a Euro per tonne for almost all ARA destinations when it comes to loading distillates into a standard-sized barge. The upward pressure on freight is likely to continue in the coming days. The majority of the owners have already secured their fleets until early / mid-May, and many players have binding commitments for contracts concluded prior the Corona crisis.

Riverlake is the Europe leading barge broker.