S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore Bunker Sales Gained 6.2% in February

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Monday March 15, 2021

Bunker sales in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, jumped by 6.2% on a yearly basis in February but declined from January's 12-month high.

The city-state's total sales reached 4.12 million mt in February, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), 6.2% higher than February 2020's level but 8.5% lower than the 12-month high of 4.5 million mt reached in January 2021.

February 2020's volumes level may have been slightly depressed as shipping companies started to use the VLSFO stockpiles they built up before the IMO 2020 transition rather than making new purchases.

The mandatory mass flow meters used to measure all bunker deliveries in Singapore come with a +/-0.5% margin of error, while remaining more accurate than traditional measurement systems used at most other ports.

Only licensed companies can supply bunkers in Singapore, and the MPA calculates sales based on the bunker delivery notes of those companies.

Bunker Hubs Continue to Dominate

Singapore's sales have benefited from a consolidation of bunker demand at the world's largest hubs during the IMO 2020 transition and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore's rise last year -- gaining by 5%, its biggest yearly advance since 2016 -- made it one of the best-performing hubs, and compared with a rise measured in metric tonnes of 2.8% at Rotterdam, and a drop of 11.4% for Panama.

Volumes at some ports were reported to be down by as much as 75% at some points in 2020.

Tanker Visits Up

The number of ships calling at Singapore for bunkers in February advanced by 1.6% on the year to 3,240 vessels. That left the average stem size 4.5% up on the year at about 1,272 mt.

That advance came with an increase in tankers visiting Singapore.

Tankers were the largest shipping segment driving a year-on-year advance in gross tonnage visiting the city-state in February, gaining 3.96 million mt.

Containers and bulkers pared the increase, losing 1.24 million mt and 1.78 million mt, respectively.

Breakdown by Product

VLSFO, marine gasoil and marine diesel oil sales lost 1.4% on the year to 2.76 million mt in February.

Meanwhile HSFO sales surged by 62.6% to 1 million mt, taking HSFO's share of the total market to 24.3% last month compared with 16% a year earlier.

0.1% sulfur marine gasoil and ultra low sulfur fuel oil dropped by 22.1% on the year to 358,500 mt.