Maiko Nakashima of global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus Media on Monday (29 June) published an update on factors impacting Japanese bunker demand due to Covid-19 economic lockdowns:
Sluggish economic activity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has reduced Japanese bunkers consumption this month, as many shipowners faced slower voyages by their vessels.
Japanese shipowners forecast their bunkers consumption in June to drop by 20% from the same month last year, on the back of reduced operating rates of their customers. Japan’s bonded bunker sales in June 2019 were 327,779 kilolitres (2mn bl), according to data from the trade and industry ministry.
Some vessels faced loading and unloading suspensions, along with slower voyage times with requests for delayed arrivals.
Operations of car carriers dropped by 40-50% in June compared with a year earlier, Japanese shipowners said, as all the country’s auto producers cut production from April because of a sharp fall in new vehicle sales.
The shipowners also saw an about 20% drop in operations by iron ore carriers, with the slowing vehicle production forcing steel mills to cut output. Inventories of steel feedstocks at steel mills built up, with vessels occasionally given no other choice to wait waiting offshore ports for the mills to create sufficient space for new supplies.
Oil tankers were also forced to slow down their voyage speeds to give sufficient time for refineries to reduce stocks to be able to accept arriving cargoes. Japanese refiners cut runs between 50-60% from the start of May in response to weaker oil product demand.
Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 30 June, 2020
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