Panama Bunker Sales Slump to 26-Month Low

Monday December 3, 2018

Panama bunker sales volumes in October slumped to a 26-month low of 321,050 metric tones (mt) for all products, a drop of almost 18% year-over-year to the lowest monthly total since August 2016, according to the latest preliminary data from the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP).

Following headwinds from the recent "bad bunker" fiasco, the port's fuel oil sales were dragged down 15% in September although distillate volumes managed an 11% gain.

For October, both grades were affected as fuel oil sales dropped 18.4% to 291,544 mt (207,648 mt in Balboa on the country's Pacific coast and 83,896 mt on the Atlantic coast with the port of Cristobal), and distillate sales fell 12.8% to 29,506 mt (16,941 mt in Balboa and 12,565 mt in Cristobal).

However, October still managed a respectable average stem size of 731 mt, higher than in April, May, and June of this year, highlighting the monthly volume drop was caused not by smaller stems but a result of fewer vessels choosing to lift their bunkers in Panama.

The performance puts year-to-date volumes just below last year at 3,854,634 mt vs 3,866,552 mt for the same 10-month period in 2017.