Basra’s Port is at capacity as there are almost 30 large oil tankers waiting to moor costing operators $75,000 per day in fees over the last three weeks. The average time to unload crude in Basra has increased from 5-10 days to 18-19 days. Loading delays are largely to blame as the city’s facilities have not been able to accommodate Iraq’s soaring oil production.
As a result, the supertanker market has soared. There are tank shortages in China combined with disruptions in sailing schedules due to the backup in Iraq have increased rates in the middle east.
"The VLCC (very large crude carrier) market is being sustained by a whole pattern of delays and congestion, affecting ports in Basra," said the head of research at Banchero Costa in Singapore, Ralph Leszczynski,
There are 43 million barrels being held on 27 VLCC’s and suezmax tankers waiting at Basra’s port, double the normal capacity. However, numbers are unlikely to ease as this congestion could continue throughout April and May, even. Iraq exported 3.26 million bpd in March; an increase from 3.22 bpd in February and an even bigger increase from 2.5 bpd in 2010.