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Crude Oil Tanker Attacks | Weekly News Update

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Additional Crude Oil Tankers Attacked Near the Strait of Hormuz

Two crude oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.  The attacks were near the Strait of Hormuz – the largest oil chokepoint in the world – which is the second set of attacks in the past month.  The US is reportedly blaming Iran for the attacks as tensions heat up in the Middle East.   US military officials released photos and exclaimed they witnessed an Iranian patrol boat approaching one of the ships and placed a mine on the ship.  Iran denied the “unfounded claims” stating it is a ploy by the US to get Iran back to the negotiation table.

Crude oil prices rose suddenly after the news was released due to fears that tension in the region will escalate and disruptions in crude oil supply will occur.  West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent benchmarks rose close over $1 per barrel or over 2 percent.

Trump suspends tariffs on Mexico after deal on immigration reached

Over the weekend, President Trump decided to drop the threat to impose tariffs on all Mexican imports as both sides reached a “signed agreement” on an immigration deal.  Mexico promised to reduce the flow of Central American migrants into the US from Mexico.  Although the tariffs did not take effect, the threat is stalled and can be acted on if the immigration issue is not resolved.  The tariffs were set to begin at 5 percent of all Mexican imports on June 10 and then increase 5 percent each month until the tariffs reached 25 percent.  If the tariffs go into effect, it would have substantial implications on trade between the two countries and could hinder freight demand.

In Other News

6/10

WSJ: Freight Operators Slowed Hiring in May on Weaker Shipping Demand

Logistics companies are still hiring at a strong pace—as long as they’re serving the e-commerce market. Transportation and logistics operators broadly slowed their jobs growth in May in line with moderating freight demand.

Bloomberg: OPEC, the Future Is Probably Worse Than You Thought

On Friday the International Energy Agency will publish its first forecast of oil market balances in 2020. The headline figures will probably show stockpiles rising next year if the OPEC+ producer group doesn’t extend output cuts into a fourth year.

Reuters: Trump suspends tariffs on Mexico after deal on immigration reached

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he has indefinitely suspended the threat of tariffs against Mexico after reaching “a signed agreement” on immigration.  Also see, U.S., Mexico Reach Deal to Avoid Tariffsdeal on immigration reached.

WSJ: Tariffs Trigger Working Capital Woes For Some Companies

The Trump administration’s tariff-heavy trade policy is putting a strain on working capital.  Some companies have run up inventories of raw materials or finished goods in a bid to front-run higher costs, analysts and executives say. Others have offered customers longer payment terms to help them adjust to the new policy landscape.

Bloomberg: U.S. Weighs More Iran Sanctions Over Potential Trade With Europe

The Trump administration is weighing sanctions against the Iranian financial body set up as a go-between for humanitarian trade with Europe, a move likely to sever the economic and humanitarian lifeline that France, Germany and the U.K. have sought to create for Tehran.

6/11

CCJ: Remote driving start-up Starsky Robotics seeks drivers for its trucking fleet

Autonomous trucking start-up Starsky Robotics – a San Francisco based company that uses remote driving capabilities – is launching a program that offers opportunities for drivers to join the company’s 36 truck fleet of human-driven units.

JOC: Falling imports from China test trans-Pacific carrier discipline

There are plenty of reasons to expect another wave of front-loading, which in the second half of 2018 kept spot rates to the West Coast above $2,000 per FEU for 16 straight weeks and rates to the East Coast above $3,000 for 17 weeks.

6/12

Utility Dive: Largest EV charging companies in US join forces to expand customer access to stations

Electrify America and ChargePoint announced a “roaming partnership” on Tuesday to allow customers of each electric vehicle (EV) charging network to charge on either network with a single account and no additional fees.

WSJ: Oil Prices Stumble on Fears of Falling Demand

Oil prices fell sharply, as data showing inventories rose last week reinforced concerns about slowing global demand. West Texas Intermediate futures fell 4% to $51.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement level since January.

WSJ: Imports at Southern California Ports Fell Sharply Last Month

Trans-Pacific trade tensions weighed on volumes at Southern California ports in May, prompting warnings that the yearlong tariff spat between the U.S. and China is rattling supply chains.

Transport Topics: ATA President Chris Spear Presses Congress on Infrastructure Funding, Autonomous Tech

Allowing segments of the country’s surface transportation system to deteriorate hinders economic growth and contributes to a significant number of road accidents, American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear told a congressional panel June 12.

6/13

Reuters: Tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman fuel security, oil supply fears

Attacks on two oil tankers on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman left one ablaze and both adrift, shipping firms said, driving oil prices up 4% over worries about Middle East supplies.  Also see, U.S. Assists Oil Tankers Near Iran After Attacks

EIA: Monthly U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC fall to a 30-year low

U.S. imports of crude oil from OPEC in March 2019 totaled 1.5 million barrels per day (b/d), their lowest level since March 1986, based on data in EIA’s Petroleum Supply Monthly. U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC members have generally fallen over the previous decade as domestic crude oil production has increased.

CCJ: Volvo’s electric, autonomous truck gets first real world assignment

Vera, Volvo Trucks’ electric, connected and autonomous vehicle, has been tapped to transport goods from a logistics center to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden – the result of a new collaboration between Volvo Trucks and ferry and logistics company DFDS.

CCJ: NACFE picks 10 fleets for regional fuel economy run

The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) has picked 10 fleets for its Run on Less Regional, a freight efficiency campaign showcasing trucks operating in a variety of regional haul applications.

CCJ: TuSimple, Arizona community college partner on autonomous driving certificate program

Tuscon, Ariz.-based Pima Community College and self-driving truck company TuSimple announced Thursday the launch of the first autonomous driving certificate program for truck drivers.

6/14

WSJ: U.S. Consumers Boost Spending Despite Trade Tensions

American shoppers ramped up their spending in May, providing critical fuel for the U.S. economy’s continued expansion despite trade tensions and slowing global growth.

JOC: Alternative fuels offer clearest path to decarbonization

Changing ship designs will fail to reach global emissions reductions targets without the widespread use of low-carbon fuels, the American Bureau of Shipping argues in its 2030 Outlook 2050 Vision report.

This weekly publication is designed to highlight relevant industry news to provide professionals in the transportation, supply chain, and energy sectors with up-to-date information in a rapidly changing marketplace. This update is purely a compilation of industry news and as such, does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Breakthrough. We do not warrant or guarantee accuracy or completeness of information. For additional information, please contact us at info@breakthroughfuel.com.

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