S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore August Bunker Sales Lose 2.3% on Year

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Monday September 13, 2021

Bunker demand in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, declined on yearly basis in August as renewed concerns about COVID-19 lockdown measures in Asia slowed shipping activity.

The city-state's total demand fell to 4.1 million mt in August, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority, down by 2.3% from the same month a year earlier but up by 0.2% from July's level.

VLSFO sales slipped by 0.7% on the month to 2.7 million mt, HSFO fell by 0.3% to 1.1 million mt, distillates gained 3.36% to 316,800 mt and other fuels rose to 20,200 mt from zero in July. HSFO's share of the total was 25.9%, down from 26% the previous month.

The niche LNG bunker market in Singapore is starting to grow this year, but has not yet been included in the official figures.

Declining From Summer 2020

The yearly decline is from a period in 2020 when shipping activity in Asia was returning to normal after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact. August 2020's sales level was the highest since March of that year, and sales continued to climb until October.

There were 3,191 vessel calls for bunkers in August, 3.1% lower than the level seen a month earlier. That left the average stem size last month at about 1,276 mt, compared with the 12-month average of 1,245 mt.

Boxship Decline

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore dropped by 7.3% on the year to 226 million mt. This decline was led by the container segment, which lost 12.6 million mt, and by a 7.1 million mt drop in bulker tonnage.

Miscellaneous ships saw the strongest growth, gaining 4 million mt, and passenger vessels also saw a strong 1.6 million mt rise. Tanker tonnage dropped by 4.7 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.