S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore Bunker Sales Jump to Two-Year High

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Monday February 13, 2023

Conventional bunker sales volumes in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, saw a strong start to 2023 with a rise to a two-year high.

The city-state's total demand reached 4.38 million mt in January, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority. The total was the highest since January 2021, up by 8.6% from the same month a year earlier and by 3.8% from December's level.

Product Breakdown

VLSFO sales advanced by 7.9% on the month to 2.8 million mt in January, HSFO slipped by 3.1% to 1.23 million mt, distillates rose by 6% to 324,500 mt and other fuels dropped by 46.4% to 25,000 mt.

HSFO's share of the total was 28%, up from 27.9% the same month a year earlier.

The niche LNG bunker market in Singapore sank last year, seeing total sales fall to 16,000 mt in 2022 from 50,000 mt the previous year, but LNG sales are not yet being included in the monthly figures. Biofuel blend sales are also being carried out -- reaching a total of 140,000 mt last year -- but are not included in the monthly data.

Bunker Calls Rise

The number of vessels calling at Singapore to bunker rose on the month.

The total gained 4.1% from December's level to 3,447 vessels last month, the highest since April 2021.

That left the average stem size last month at about 1,270 mt, compared with an average over the previous 12 months of 1,269 mt.


Singapore's average VLSFO price in January was $645.50/mt, according to Ship & Bunker data, up by 3.8% from December's level but down by 3.6% from the level seen a year earlier. Ship & Bunker's G20-VLSFO Index of average prices across 20 leading bunkering ports gained 2.4% on the month and lost 0.7% on the year to $664/mt in January.

Bulker Visits Climb

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore jumped by 9.9% on the year to 257.4 million mt in January. This advance was led by the dry bulk segment, where calls by gross tonnage gained 14 million mt. Container tonnage calls rose by 9.4 million mt, while tankers slipped by 442,000 mt.

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.