S&B ANALYSIS: HSFO Surge Sends Rotterdam Q3 Bunker Sales to Six-Year High

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Wednesday October 26, 2022

Conventional bunker sales at Rotterdam, the world's second-largest marine fuels hub after Singapore, jumped to the highest level in more than six years in the third quarter after a surge in HSFO demand.

Fossil bunker sales excluding biofuels, LNG and lubricants, reached 2.54 million mt in the period from July to September, according to the latest data from the Port of Rotterdam. The figure was up by 12.3% from the previous quarter, by 6.2% from the same period a year earlier and the highest quarterly total since the first quarter of 2016.

Singapore's Q3 total was up by 5.1% from the previous quarter and by 1.1% from the same period a year earlier. Fujairah's Q3 sales fell by less than 0.1% from Q2, and advanced by 1.5% versus Q3 2021.

Product Breakdown

Rotterdam's VLSFO sales slipped by 6.7% on the year to 986,058 mt in the third quarter. HSFO gained 20.4% to 835,812 mt, ULSFO rallied by 3.1% to 205,451 mt, MGO rose by 15.6% to 299,045 mt and MDO advanced by 13.9% to 209,529 mt.

That left VLSFO with a share of about 39% of the Rotterdam market in the third quarter, HSFO with 33%, distillates with 20% and ULSFO with 8%. That compares with 44%, 29%, 19% and 8% respectively a year earlier.

Alternative Fuels

The LNG bunker market at Rotterdam remained lower than last year in response to recent high prices, but rallied on a sequential basis in the third quarter as those prices came off record highs. The Dutch port saw 113,701 m3 of LNG bunker sales in the third quarter, down by 46.5% from the same period of 2021 but up by 79.1% from Q2's level.

Biofuel sales continued to climb overall. The port saw 183,474 mt of bio-fuel oil blend sales in the third quarter and 9,301 mt of bio-distillate blend sales, up by 346.7% and down by 11.9% respectively from the same period a year earlier. These figures reflect sales of blends containing unreported ratios of biofuel and conventional fuel.


Rotterdam's average VLSFO price was $734/mt in the third quarter, down by 15.6% from the previous quarter and up by 40.7% from the same period a year earlier. Ship & Bunker's G20-VLSFO Index of prices across 20 leading bunkering ports averaged $844.50/mt in the third quarter, down by 14.2% from Q2 and up by 53.5% from Q3 2021.