ANALYSIS: Singapore Q1 Bunker Demand Hits Record High on Red Sea Diversions

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Monday April 15, 2024

Diversions away from the Red Sea and Suez Canal helped send Singapore's bunker sales to a record high in the first quarter.

The city-state's total conventional and biofuel demand reached 4.41 million mt in March, up by 5.5% on the year but down by 1.7% from February's level, according to the latest data from the Maritime and Port Authority.

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

2023's total reached 51.82 million mt, up by 8% from 2022. If the total from the first three months of the year were to be replicated over the rest of 2024, this year's total for Singapore would reach 55.14 million mt, up by 6.6% from 2023's record high.

Product Breakdown

VLSFO sales sank by 5.3% on the month to 2.42 million mt in March, HSFO advanced by 0.3% to 1.61 million mt, distillates rose by 1.3% to 315,100 mt and biofuel blends more than tripled to 66,000 mt.

The biofuel blend total was the highest since October.

HSFO's share of the total was 36.4%, up from 30.4% the same month a year earlier.

Separately, LNG bunker sales jumped by 43.5% on the month to 38,600 mt in March, a record high, 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 advanced on both a yearly and monthly basis in March.

A total of 3,495 vessels came to Singapore's waters to bunker in March, up by 4.1% from February's level.

That left the average conventional and biofuel bunker stem size last month at about 1,261 mt, compared with an average over the previous 12 months of 1,264 mt.


Singapore's average VLSFO price in March was $642.50/mt, up by 0.4% from February's level and  by 10.2% from the level seen a year earlier.

Ship & Bunker's G20-VLSFO Index of average prices across 20 leading bunkering ports gained 1% on the month and 7.2% on the year to $664.50/mt in March.

Bulker Visits Jump

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore jumped by 3.6% on the year to 263.63 million mt in March. This advance was led by the bulker segment, where calls by gross tonnage gained 11.8 million mt. Container ship tonnage calls fell by 3.5 million mt, while tankers declined by 612,000 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.