S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore Bunker Sales Near All-Time High in May

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Wednesday June 14, 2023

Conventional bunker sales volumes in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, jumped to a five-year high in May and were close to the highest monthly total on record.

The city-state's total demand reached 4.52 million mt in May, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority. The total was up by 11.8% from the same month a year earlier, by 6.2% from April's level and the highest monthly figure since January 2018.

January 2018's total of 4.61 million mt was the highest on record for Singapore.

Product Breakdown

VLSFO sales jumped by 1% on the month to 2.73 million mt in May, HSFO surged by 17.9% to 1.4 million mt, distillates advanced by 4% to 340,400 mt and other fuels grew by 39.9% to 46,600 mt.

HSFO's share of the total was 31%, up from 26.5% the same month a year earlier.

The niche LNG bunker market in Singapore sank last year, seeing total sales fall to 16,000 mt in 2022 from 50,000 mt the previous year, but LNG sales are not yet being included in the monthly figures. Biofuel blend sales are also being carried out -- reaching a total of 140,000 mt last year -- but are not included in the monthly data.

Bunker Calls Jump to Four-Year High

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

A total of 3,631 vessels came to Singapore's waters to bunker in May, the most since December 2019. The total was up by 14.6% on the year and by 3.9% from April's level.

That left the average stem size last month at about 1,244 mt, compared with an average over the previous 12 months of 1,260 mt.


Singapore's average VLSFO price in May was was $574/mt, according to Ship & Bunker data, down by 5.5% from April's level and by 39% from the level seen a year earlier. Ship & Bunker's G20-VLSFO Index of average prices across 20 leading bunkering ports lost 6.5% on the month and 38.5% on the year to $585.50/mt in May.

Boxship Visits Jump

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore jumped by 11.4% on the year to 266.7 million mt in May. This advance was led by the container segment, where calls by gross tonnage gained 14.3 million mt. Bulker tonnage calls rose by 8.7 million mt, while tankers advanced by 2.7 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.