Bunker demand from container lines may be down by as much as 20% on the year as the boxship segment struggles with a weakening market, according to commodity trading firm Hartree Partners.
The firm is seeing significant weakness from container lines in particular, Marc Holm, senior fuel oil trader at Hartree, said at the IBIA Annual Convention 2022 in Houston last week.
"One of the key things I'm seeing from a bunker-market perspective is the demand data we're seeing from the liners is pretty bad," Holm said in a panel session at the conference.
"The liners -- the Maersk, the CMAs of this world -- it's weak, it looks really bad.
"Only from the liner sector -- they're big lifters at some of the big bunker ports -- we've seen some of them down 20%."
Holm said inflation was the main driver for weaker boxship demand.
"People aren't buying enough stuff at Walmart," he said.
"I think ultimately it comes back to inflation."
AP Moller-Maersk saw its bunker consumption drop by 4.8% in the third quarter from a year earlier. Hapag-Lloyd's demand slipped by just 1% in the same period.
Container throughput at the Port of Rotterdam was down by 8.6% on a tonnage basis in the third quarter.