Panama Records Lowest Q1 Bunker Sales Since 2016

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday April 15, 2024

Relatively robust bunker sales in March could not stop  Panama recording its lowest Q1 bunker sales since 2016 as the country continues to feel the effects of low water levels limiting transits through the Canal.

Q1 2024 bunker sales were an eight-year low of 1,121,849 mt, according to the latest data from the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP).

That was 14% lower than the 1,305,935 mt recorded last year in Q1 2023 and the lowest Q1 sales since the 1,083,889 mt recorded in Q1 2016.

Q1 2024’s total comprised 701,480 mt of VLSFO, 297,122 mt of HSFO, and 123,247 mt of distillates.

The lacklustre quarterly performance came courtesy of a March 2024 sales total of 390,678 mt, comprising 234,332 mt of VLSFO, 114,229 mt of HSFO, and 42,117 mt of distillates.

As usual the majority of those bunkers (329,076 mt) were lifted in Balboa on the country’s Pacific coast, with Cristobal responsible for the 61,602 mt difference.

While that was an improvement sequentially, February 2024 having slumped to the lowest monthly sales in three and a half years, year-over-year total sales in March were down over 16% on the 467,425 mt sales recoded in March 2023.

Still, the 390,678 mt March total was the best monthly performance so far in 2024 and well in-line with trailing 12 month average monthly sales of 393,412 mt.

There was perhaps some additional consolation for March 2024 in the particularly high average stem size of 816 mt.

This was the highest since January 2018 and well above the five-year average stem size of 705 mt.