S&B ANALYSIS: Singapore October Bunker Sales Jump to Five-Month High

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

Bunker demand in Singapore, the world's largest marine fuels hub, jumped to the highest level in five months in October as the port emerged from a summer slowdown.

The city-state's total demand climbed to 4.3 million mt in October, according to preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority, up by 2.5% from the same month a year earlier, by 8.1% from September 2021's level and the highest monthly total since April of this year.

VLSFO sales rose by 4.9% on the month to 2.7 million mt, HSFO surged by 18.6% to 1.2 million mt, distillates lost 3% to 347,700 mt and other fuels jumped from zero to 19,100 mt. HSFO's share of the total was 27.8%, up from 25.3% the previous month.

The niche LNG bunker market in Singapore is starting to grow this year, but has not yet been included in the official figures.

Signs of Improvement

The demand figures show signs of improvement in Asian buying activity after a slowdown over the summer. October's month-on-month jump in bunker sales was the largest since July 2020, rising from September's 15-month low in demand.

There were 3,165 vessel calls for bunkers in October, 2.2% higher than the level seen a month earlier. That left the average stem size last month at about 1,344 mt, compared with the 12-month average of 1,260 mt.

Boxship Decline

The total gross tonnage visiting Singapore dropped by 5.6% on the year to 230 million mt. This decline was led by the container segment, which lost 10.9 million mt, and by a 4.7 million mt drop in bulker tonnage.

Passenger ships saw the strongest growth, gaining 913,000 mt. Tanker tonnage gained 908,000 mt on the year.

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.