Hong Kong may see a sharp rise in bunker sales in the second half of 2021. File Image / Pixabay
The authorities in Hong Kong have announced an easing of their COVID-19 lockdown measures, heralding a return of bunker-only calls for the first time in almost a year.
Ships calling at Hong Kong for shipping services only -- including bunkering -- will from June 15 onwards be able to visit without undergoing quarantine, the Marine Department of Hong Kong said in a notice published on Tuesday. Brokerage NSI highlighted the change in regulations in a note to clients.
Ships that have in the past 21 days visited Brazil, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa, which Hong Kong lists as having high risk of COVID-19, will still need to quarantine.
Bunker demand collapsed in Hong Kong in July 2020 after the authorities introduced a 14-day quarantine requirement for any ships calling there for bunkers only, effectively eliminating all demand for bunker-only calls there. Total sales dropped by 28% from the second quarter of 2020 to the third quarter, according to Ship & Bunker and BLUE Insight's quarterly volumes survey.
Hong Kong's bunker industry may now stand to benefit from the severe congestion that has built up around the Port of Yantian, where container ships are now reportedly waiting for as much as two weeks to carry out cargo operations.