ANALYSIS: Singapore April Bunker Demand Drops to 10-Month Low

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Tuesday May 14, 2024

Marine fuel sales in Singapore, the world's largest bunkering hub, dropped on both a monthly and yearly basis last month, reaching the lowest level in almost a year as VLSFO sales reached a low not seen since the IMO 2020 transition.

The city-state's total conventional and biofuel demand reached 4.2 million mt in April, down by 1.3% on the year and by 4.7% from March's level, according to the latest data from the Maritime and Port Authority. The total was the lowest since June 2023.

Singapore's total for Q1 was 13.78 million mt, a record high, up by 11.6% on the year and by 0.7% from the previous quarter.

If the total from the first four months of the year were to be replicated over the rest of 2024, this year's total for Singapore would reach 53.95 million mt, up by 4.1% from 2023's record high.

Product Breakdown

VLSFO sales slipped by 6.9% on the month to 2.25 million mt in April, HSFO declined by 0.3% to 1.6 million mt, distillates fell by 8.9% to 287,100 mt and biofuel blends dropped by 9.7% to 59,600 mt.

The VLSFO total was the lowest since at least January 2020.

HSFO's share of the total was 38.1%, up from 28.6% the same month a year earlier.

Separately, LNG bunker sales slipped by 7.8% on the month to 35,600 mt in April, dropping from a record high in March, while no methanol sales were recorded.

Singapore has been including columns for biofuel blends, LNG and methanol sales since June 2023.

Bunker Calls Decline

The number of vessels calling at Singapore to bunker declined on both a yearly and monthly basis in March.

A total of 3,389 vessels came to Singapore's waters to bunker in April, down by 3% from March's level.

That left the average conventional and biofuel bunker stem size last month at about 1,239 mt, compared with an average over the previous 12 months of 1,265 mt.


Singapore's average VLSFO price in April was $649/mt, up by 1% from March's level and by 7.4% from the level seen a year earlier.

Ship & Bunker's G20-VLSFO Index of average prices across 20 leading bunkering ports gained 0.6% on the month and 6.8% on the year to $668.50/mt in April.

Tanker Visits Drop

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore sank by 3.5% on the year to 250.22 million mt in April. This decline was led by the tanker segment, where calls by gross tonnage lost 6 million mt. Container ship tonnage calls fell by 4.4 million mt, while bulkers advanced by 1.69 million 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.