Singapore has been one of the best-performing bunker ports in the world this year. File Image / Pixabay
Bunker demand in Singapore for 2020 may top 50 million mt for the first time in three years, after a 4.6% jump on the year in November.
Total sales at the world's largest marine fuels hub were 4.263 million mt in November, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), climbing by 4.6% from the same month a year earlier and by 2.7% from October's level.
The year-to-date total at Singapore is now 5.9% above the level for the first 11 months of 2019, and would require sales of 4.457 million mt in December to reach the 50 million mt total. Sales in December 2019 were 4.466 million mt.
Singapore's gain shows the strength of marine fuel hubs at the expense of smaller ports remains a significant factor in the market.
Singapore's gain shows the strength of marine fuel hubs at the expense of smaller ports remains a significant factor in the market. Industry sources have told Ship & Bunker that demand worldwide is recovering well in the fourth quarter, but most ports will still be below demand levels from this time last year.
Bunker demand climbed significantly at the end of 2019 with shipping companies stocking up on new VLSFO blends ahead of IMO 2020, and the fact that Singapore is now still ahead of last November's elevated sales totals shows the extent to which buyers are currently congregating at the bunker hubs.
Rotterdam has also seen growth this year, with demand in the first three quarters of 2020 4% higher than in the same period of 2019.
Average Stem Size Surges
The increase in last month's sales in Singapore came despite calls for bunkers having slipped by 3.8% from a year earlier to 3,459 vessels in November, meaning the average stem size jumped by 18.1% on the year to about 1,232 mt. This increase in the average size is likely to reflect the strong recovery in demand from container shipping.
Very low sulfur fuel oil and 0.5% sulfur gasoil and diesel sales climbed by 5.1% from October's levels to 2.879 million mt in November, while high sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) sales slipped by 2.3% to 1.059 million mt. HSFO's share of total demand was 24.8%.
Sales of 0.1% sulfur gasoil and ultra low sulfur fuel oil sank by 1.2% on the month to 324,500 mt, the MPA said.