Rising US ethanol imports boost chemical tankers

Seaborne US ethanol imports have almost tripled over the past 12 months according to a report by Bloomberg. The news agency reports almost all the extra supply is being shipped by Brazilian refiners, who use sugar as a feedstock. Shares of Odjfell, the world’s second-biggest operator of chemical tankers, will almost double in the next year, according to the average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The same survey also predicts that Stolt-Nielsen's shares will also rise significantly.

Shipbroker Clarksons reports that rates for the ships across 23 trade routes rose to a record average of $70.39 a metric ton this year, 4 percent more than in 2011.

Ethanol is one of about 500 products, including alcohols for solvents, aromatics for paints and sulfuric acid for insecticides, carried on chemical tankers. Some also haul refined fuels such as gasoline and diesel.