Freight rates for dirty tankers in the East of Suez market have gone up sharply to hit their highest level so far in 2015 last week, amid strong demand to move crude and fuel oil and spike in interest for floating storage, said sources Monday.

The long waiting time in Basrah for ships to load and delays in discharging at South Korea and China due to logistics and weather issues also reduced tonnage supply, contributing to firming rates, sources said.

A number factors have led to the spike in rates at this time of the year — typically a lean time for dirty tankers when several refining units go for routine maintenance and demand to move crude cargoes ebbs.

Recent gains in crude prices have prompted importers to buy more volumes in anticipation of further increases, which translated to higher demand for ships, market participants said last week.

Source: Platts