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Low Europe bitumen prices, costly freight prevent imports from US

July 26/2011

(ICIS) -- Low European bitumen prices and high freight rates have kept arbitrages from the US closed for around two years despite it being considered a key exporter into the region, bitumen shipping industry sources said on Tuesday.

A second market participant agreed that arbitrages from the US to Europe have been closed for many months. I dont know of any occasion when this [bitumen] has moved [from the US to Europe], the second source said.

Sending material from the US to Europe is not economical, another shipping source said on 18 July.
The first source went on to say there has been very little market activity in Europe for at least six months. Some of his company's bitumen vessels remain unoccupied.

This market participant went on to say that to transport 7 KT of bitumen from Baltimore, Maryland, to Europe would cost an average of USD 705.000 (EUR 493.500) to containerise the material, and, based on a transit period of 14 days, it would cost USD 300.000 to charter a vessel.

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