Crude oil hub in Albany?

Once in a while, the commodities pages  (and blogs) provide an inkling of future growth areas in the workboat trade. In this case, it’s the New York area.

What caught my eye were reports that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the parent of the New York Mercantile Exchange (a specialist energy marketplace), is reportedly considering revisions that would specify Albany, N.Y., about 100 miles up the Hudson River from New York City, as a hub for deliveries of crude oil. The port currently receives deliveries of products by barge from the refineries in New Jersey. It’s well known that flows of crude oil and products are being reconfigured dramatically. In this case, terminals at Albany offer transfer of crude oil that originates inland, in railcars shipped from the Bakken fields, and then transferred to tankers (for export to Canada) or barges (for deliveries to those same refineries). The new futures delivery designation is far from a done deal, but if the action at terminals mainly in New Jersey (and the Bronx and Staten Island) is any guide, futures market hubs mean commerce.

When monitoring the AIS images on my computer (or mobile device), the cluttering of icons (red for tankers, blue or tan for tugs or ATBs) indicates the transfer of cargo, all good news for the respective ports. There is talk that Global Terminal, which operates the transloading facility in Albany, is also looking at other locations on the Hudson River, though local opposition has been stiff. Local maritime interests may wish to offer a point of view that concentrates on potential benefits rather than problems.

About the author

Barry Parker

Barry Parker is a maritime consultant and writer. He covers shipping, energy and commodities, drawing on three decades of transactional and brokerage experience. His writing covers financing aspects of shipping and offshore, plus occasional technical or regulatory articles. His client work for ship owners, cargo interests and others includes project and market analysis, as well as commercial and operational guidance. He divides his time between midtown Manhattan and his home on Long Island Sound. He can be reached at bdp1@conconnect.com.

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