S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore March Bunker Sales Gain 11% on Year

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Friday April 14, 2023

Conventional bunker sales volumes in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, climbed by almost 11% on the year in March as bunker calls rose to a two-year high.

The city-state's total demand reached 4.18 million mt in March, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority. The total was up by 10.8% from the same month a year earlier and by 10% from February's level.

That left Singapore's Q1 total at 12.35 million mt, up by 9.2% on the year but down by 3.8% from Q4 of 2022.

Product Breakdown

VLSFO sales jumped by 9.7% on the month to 2.58 million mt in March, HSFO advanced by 11.4% to 1.24 million mt, distillates climbed by 8.9% to 330,200 mt and other fuels slipped by 3.6% to 33,200 mt.

HSFO's share of the total was 29.6%, up from 28.8% 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 Two-Year High

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

A total of 3,476 vessels came to Singapore's waters to bunker in March, the most since January 2021. The total was up by 15.1% on the year and 13.5% from February's level.

That left the average stem size last month at about 1,201 mt, the least since July 2020 and compared with an average over the previous 12 months of 1,264 mt.


Singapore's average VLSFO price in March was $583/mt, according to Ship & Bunker data, down by 9.3% from February's level and by 34.9% from the level seen a year earlier. Ship & Bunker's G20-VLSFO Index of average prices across 20 leading bunkering ports lost 6.8% on the month and 33.1% on the year to $620/mt in March.

Boxship Visits Climb

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore jumped by 14.1% on the year to 254.5 million mt in March. This advance was led by the container segment, where calls by gross tonnage gained 15.3 million mt. Bulker tonnage calls rose by 7.2 million mt, while tankers advanced by 7.1 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.