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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook (23 Nov 2023)

Low demand in Houston; prompt availability tight in West Coast ports; weather disrupts bunkering in GOLA and Zona Comun.





The following article regarding bunker fuel availability in the Americas region has been provided by online marine fuel procurement platform ENGINE for post on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:

  • Low demand in Houston
  • Prompt availability tight in West Coast ports
  • Weather disrupts bunkering in GOLA and Zona Comun

North America

Houston's demand for bunker fuel has decreased this week after a spike in demand last week. Availability of both VLSFO and LSMGO has been good, and some suppliers can deliver both grades within 3-5 days. Prompt HSFO supply is available and lead times of 4-5 days are recommended for the grade.

A moderate to high risk of fog and reduced visibility is forecast around Corpus Christi over the weekend, which could delay vessel traffic around the region and in the Houston Ship Channel, Norton Lilly says.

The US Gulf Coast fog season usually lasts until March, with more frequent channel closures between December and January due to poor visibility.

Securing VLSFO and LSMGO stems for prompt dates is possible in Beaumont. One supplier can supply VLSFO and LSMGO stems within 2-3 days. Also, both grades are available for prompt dates in Bolivar Roads. Some suppliers can deliver VLSFO and LSMGO stems there within five days of lead time.

Bunker operations have resumed in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA) after it had been suspended since Monday. A window of calm weather is forecast between Thursday and Friday morning, which could enable bunker operations to resume in GOLA before conditions are set to deteriorate again.

GOLA has seen bunker demand wane as a result of the weather disruptions, and this has prevented a further backlog of waiting vessels to build, a source says.

Securing prompt VLSFO and LSMGO stems is possible at the New Orleans Outer Anchorage (NOLA). Several suppliers are able to offer both fuel grades with a lead time of 3-5 days. Overall bunker demand has slowed down this week at the anchorage.

Demand has been low for all grades in the West Coast ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, as it has been for the past two weeks. Despite low demand, all grades remain tight for prompt delivery dates in the West Coast ports.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO has improved in the East Coast port of New York. Both grades can be secured within 3-4 days of lead time, as demand has slowed down in the port this week.

Caribbean and Latin America

Demand for all fuel grades has been steady in Panama’s ports of Balboa and Cristobal in the past week. Availability has been very good for VLSFO and LSMGO, and most suppliers are able to offer stems within 3-4 days in Balboa. HSFO can be secured with a lead time of about seven days.

VLSFO and LSMGO delivery is possible for prompt dates off Trinidad, but these offers are generally quoted on a subject to enquiry basis, a source says.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal for prompt dates at Argentina’s Zona Comun anchorage. Most suppliers can deliver stems within five days of lead time. However, bunker operations are likely to be disrupted at the anchorage over the weekend when strong wind gusts are forecast.

VLSFO and LSMGO supply is good for prompt dates in Brazilian ports including Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Itaqui and Rio Grande. One supplier can deliver within 4-6 days of lead time.

By Debarati Bhattacharjee

Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 24 November, 2023

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GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the “TIHAMA”, a 19,870 TEU container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd in final trial; marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022.





GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Thursday (18 July) said it has successfully completed its final supply chain trial for biofuel blended with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). 

This marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022 as part of a larger pilot to develop a framework to provide quality, quantity and GHG abatement assurances for drop-in fuels.

In this final trial, bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the TIHAMA, a 19,870 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd.

The biofuel component used is certified to the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) standard – a multistakeholder certification scheme for biobased materials. The biofuel component comprised neat Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) produced from food waste.

Authentix, a tracer solutions provider, supplied and dosed the FAME with an organic-based tracer at the storage terminal outside the Netherlands. The dosed FAME was then transported to the Port of Rotterdam for blending with VLSFO to achieve a B30 blend, before the blend was bunkered onboard the TIHAMA.

Similar to previous trials, GCMD engaged fuel testing company Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) to witness the operations at all stages – from biofuel cargo transfer to bunkering. VPS also collected and conducted extensive laboratory tests on samples of the biofuel and biofuel blend collected at pre-determined points along the supply chain to assess quality per Standards EN 14214 and ISO 8217.

With well-to-wake emissions of 13.74 gCO2e/MJ, the neat FAME presented a 85.4% emissions reduction compared to the emissions of the fossil marine fuel. The reduced emissions complies with the MEPC 80, which requires a minimum emissions reduction of 65% in order for biofuels to be classified as sustainable.

GCMD and Hapag-Lloyd determined that consumption of the 4,500 MT B30 blend of FAME and VLSFO resulted in 27.9% emissions reduction compared to sailing on VLSFO.

A newly developed tracer deployed with this supply chain

GCMD collaborated with Authentix to develop and deploy a new organic-based tracer to authenticate the origin and verify the amount of FAME present in the blend. The proprietary tracer blended homogeneously with FAME and was detected at expected concentrations at all sampling points along the supply chain.

This trial marks the first deployment of this tracer in a marine fuel supply chain. Previously, similar tracers were used to authenticate and quantify biofuels in road transport and LPG supply chains.

Development of a comprehensive biofuels assurance framework underway

With the completion of this trial, GCMD has deployed a diverse range of tracer technologies, including synthetic DNA and element-based tracers, in addition to the organic-based tracer used in this trial. The trials have also included the development of a chemical fingerprinting methodology and the evaluation of lock-and-seal and automatic identification systems (AIS) as additional solutions to ensure the integrity of the biofuels supply chain.

Learnings on tracer limitations and benefits will be incorporated into a framework that recommends appropriate use to ensure consistent and robust performance. This effort will complement existing ISCC by providing additional supply chain assurance through physical traceability.

The insights from these trials will be shared in a series of reports covering issues, such as traceability, biofuel degradation, supply chain optimisation and abatement costs. These findings will culminate in a comprehensive assurance framework to provide guidance on biofuels use, slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2024.


Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 19 July 2024

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MPA, ITOCHU and partners sign MoU on ammonia-fuelled bulk carriers study

As a government agency, MPA,will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations, says ClassNK.





RESIZED venti views

Classification society ClassNK on Thursday (18 July) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ITOCHU Corporation, Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd., and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) regarding a joint study for the design and safety specifications of ammonia-fuelled ships which are under development by ITOCHU and partners.

“The discussion for a specification of ammonia-fuelled ships with a governmental body related to their operation is essential for a social implementation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK said. 

“As one of parties of the MoU, MPA, a government agency overseeing the world’s busiest bunkering hub, will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations.”

The MoU is based on the premise that 200,000 deadweight ton class bulk carriers will be built by Nihon Shipyard with an ammonia dual-fuelled engine.

“The necessary clarifications of the specification for the ammonia-fueled ship to carry out ammonia bunkering in Singapore will be conducted among parties of this MoU, for the commercialisation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK added.


Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 19 July 2024

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“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels “Viking Ocean”, “Viking Diamond” and “Viking Coral” while bunkering in Singapore, says Gram Car Carriers.





“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Norwegian transportation firm Gram Car Carriers (GCC) on Thursday (18 July) said Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE) will use biofuel on three vessels chartered from GCC from July onwards. 

“The biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels Viking Ocean, Viking Diamond and Viking Coral while bunkering in Singapore, an Asian hub for marine biofuels,” GCC said on its social media. 

“The use of biofuel is a key environmental initiative to reduce emissions across the entire value chain (well-to-exhaust) and an effective way of transitioning to low-carbon marine fuels amid globally tightening environmental regulations.”

“We support the green mobility shift. This means that GCC commit to supporting the transition of both vehicles and their logistic chain towards a zero-emission future in close cooperation with leading customers such as K-Line,” said Georg A. Whist, CEO of GCC.


Photo credit: Gram Car Carriers
Published: 19 July 2024

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