S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore Bunker Sales Slip Further in April

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Friday May 13, 2022

Bunker demand in Singapore declined on both a yearly and monthly basis in April as contamination problems and the ongoing Russia crisis hit sales at the world's largest marine fuels hub.

The city-state's total demand slipped to 3.7 million mt in April, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority, down by 12.1% from the same month a year earlier and by 0.7% from March's level.

The total was dragged down on a monthly basis by HSFO sales after 80 ships reported damage from buying contaminated HSFO in Singapore in February and March.

VLSFO sales rose by 3.3% on the month to 2.5 million mt, HSFO lost 13.4% to 941,700 mt, distillates advanced by 1.8% to 286,500 mt and other fuels rose almost ninefold to 36,700 mt. HSFO's share of the total was 25.2%, down from 25.6% from the same month a year earlier and from 28.8% in March.

The niche LNG bunker market in Singapore continues to grow, after seeing total sales of 50,000 mt last year, but LNG sales are not yet being included in the monthly figures.

Slow Start to 2022

Singapore's sales are continuing to decline after hitting the lowest level since 2015 in the first quarter. The contamination problems in February and March will have played a large role in the decline, but the steady phasing out of Russian oil since the invasion of Ukraine in late February may also be a factor in its underperformance.

There were 3,025 vessel calls for bunkers in April, 0.2% higher than the level seen a month earlier. That left the average stem size last month at about 1,237 mt, compared with the 12-month average of 1,273 mt.

Bulker Decline

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore dropped by 6% on the year to 240 million mt. This decline was led by the bulker segment, which lost 6.8 million mt, and by a 3.7 million mt drop in tanker tonnage.

Container tonnage arrivals lost 1.4 million mt on the year.

The mandatory mass flow meter systems used to measure all bunker deliveries in Singapore come with a +/-0.5% margin of error, a level considered more accurate than traditional measurement systems used at most other ports with the added benefit of all but eliminated volumetric malpractice.

Only licensed companies can supply bunkers in Singapore, and the MPA calculates sales based on the bunker delivery notes of those companies.