S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore Bunker Sales Slip in July

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Monday August 16, 2021

Bunker demand in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, declined on both a monthly and yearly basis in July 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 July, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority, down by 1.2% from the previous month and by 2.3% from July 2020.

VLSFO sales slipped by 1.7% on the month to 2.7 million mt, HSFO fell by 0.2% to 1.1 million mt, distillates lost 0.4% to 306,500 mt and other fuels remained at zero. HSFO's share of the total was 26%, up from 25.8% 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. July 2020's sales level was the highest since March of that year, and preceded a steady recovery for the remainder of the summer and the start of autumn.

There were 3,294 calls for bunkers in July, 1.6% higher than the level seen a month earlier. That left the average stem size last month at about 1,234 mt, compared with the 12-month average of 1,241 mt.

Bulker Decline

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore dropped by 9.1% on the year to 229 million mt. This decline was led by the dry bulk segment, which lost 19.3 million mt, and by a 9.4 million mt drop in container tonnage.

Miscellaneous ships saw the strongest growth, gaining 6.4 million mt, and passenger vessels also saw a strong 3.1 million mt rise. Tanker tonnage dropped by 4.2 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.