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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

23 Dec 2022

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:

  • Rough weather disrupts bunker operations at GOLA and Zona Comun
  • Prompt supply remains tight in Panama
  • Availability tight in New Orleans


North America

All grades remain slightly tight for prompt dates in the Houston area and bunker locations off the Gulf Coast. Some suppliers can deliver stems for prompt dates, while others wary to confirm prompt delivery stems amid the possibility of fog disruptions, a source says.

Fog and reduced visibility typically delay bunker operations during January. Lead times of 5-7 days are generally recommended in Houston to ensure full coverage from suppliers, down from last week’s 7-9 days.

The rough weather condition disrupted bunker operations in Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA) since the weekend. Some suppliers are trying to deliver stems in GOLA as and when the weather allows, but have mostly halted deliveries otherwise, sources say.

Meanwhile, suppliers continue to deliver stems as scheduled at the more sheltered Port of Galveston and no delays have been reported there, a source says. But suppliers in GOLA have held back all offers for both prompt delivery dates and dates further out, a source says.

Prompt VLSFO and LSMGO availability is tight at the New Orleans Outer Anchorage (NOLA). Two suppliers in NOLA require 7-8 days of lead time, while others are unable to confirm delivery dates, a source says.

All grades remain tight for prompt dates in the West Coast ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as in recent weeks. A longer lead time of at least 10-15 days is generally recommended to ensure full coverage from all suppliers.

Securing HSFO is, even more, difficult and lead times can be unpredictable as the grade is supplied by fewer suppliers, a source says.

Bunker availability remains steady for all fuel grades in Mexico’s Manzanillo. Recommended lead times for HSFO, VLSFO and LSMGO are about five days out, but prompter stems can be accommodated.

Overall bunker demand in Manzanillo has slowed coming into December. Sources expect a recovery in demand over the coming weeks.


Caribbean and Latin America

All grades remain tight for prompt dates in Panama’s Balboa and Cristobal. Some suppliers in Balboa are booked for the remaining days of the month. One supplier can deliver VLSFO and LSMGO stems from 4 January onwards. Lead times of 7-9 days are generally recommended for smooth coverage, while some can try supplying stems with a shorter lead time of five days but typically gathers fewer offers from suppliers, a source says.

HSFO prompt supply remains patchier in Balboa and Cristobal, partly due to fewer suppliers offering the grade.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is normal in Peru’s Callao. One supplier can deliver stems for prompt dates.

Availability is normal in Colombia’s Cartagena and Santa Marta. Recommended lead time for VLSFO and LSMGO is about three days.

Suppliers in Argentina’s Zona Comun anchorage have struggled to deliver stems this week amid rough weather conditions. Some suppliers have already re-scheduled deliveries and have cautioned against further delays. The weather is forecast to remain rough through the weekend, triggering more delays and congestion.

Barge loadings have been further delayed in Zona Comun due to weather disruption, leading to a significant rise in bunker backlogs, a source says.

By Nithin Chandran


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 23 December, 2022

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