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ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

02 Mar 2023

The following article regarding regional bunker fuel availability outlook for the East of Suez region has been provided by online marine fuels procurement platform ENGINE for publication on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:

28 February, 2023

  • VLSFO and HSFO availability improves in Singapore
  • LSMGO readily available across Sri Lankan ports
  • Good demand in Fujairah


Demand for bunkers has been average in Singapore so far this week. Prompt availability of VLSFO and HSFO grades remains tight, but lead times have improved slightly – from 7-9 days for both grades last week, to 5-7 days for VLSFO and 6-8 days for HSFO now.

LSMGO is still readily available in the port. Recommended lead times for the grade remain unchanged from the previous week’s 2-4 days.

Singapore’s residual fuel oil stocks have averaged 5% higher so far this month than in January and risen above their five-year average for the year, according to Enterprise Singapore. Stock levels have been helped by a 7% increase in net imports.

Meanwhile, the port’s middle distillate stocks have averaged 9% lower this month and continue to be far below their five-year average position.

East Asia

Availability of VLSFO in Zhoushan is tight for prompt dates as some suppliers are running low on stocks, but muted demand has kept a check on tightness, a source says. One supplier is expecting a VLSFO replenishment cargo to arrive in early March, which is likely to alleviate the tightness.

VLSFO and LSMGO stems require 3-5 days of lead time in the port – unchanged from the previous week. Availability has improved for HSFO in the Chinese bunkering hub, with lead times shortening from 5-7 days to 4-6 days over the past week.

Hong Kong has been witnessing weak demand so far this week, while availability across grades remain normal, a source says. Lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO are 5-6 days, up from around four days last week. Around 5-6 days ahead is advised for HSFO, which was subject to enquiry last week.

Strong wind gusts of 19-22 knots and waves of over a metre are forecast to hit Hong Kong between 2-3 March, which may disrupt bunkering operations.

A source says bad weather is forecast in the South Korean ports of Ulsan, Onsan, Daesan, Taean and Yeosu between 1-5 March, which might hit bunkering.

Lead times across all grades in southern and western South Korean ports vary widely, with the shortest at three days and the longest at around 12. This is almost same as last week’s 3-11 days for southern South Korean ports, but much longer than the 3-4 days needed previously in the country’s western ports.

Strong wind gusts of 19-26 knots and swells of close to a metre are forecast to hit the Philippine port of Subic Bay from Tuesday until Friday, which might hamper bunkering operations.

South Asia

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO remains good with lead times of 2-3 days across several Indian ports, including Mumbai and Kandla on the northwest coast, Cochin and Chennai on the southern coast, and Visakhapatnam on the southwestern coast.

Availability of grades are subject to enquiry in Tuticorin in the southeast coast and Haldia on the eastern coast of India.

However, the Indian ports of Kandla and Sikka are struggling with congestion and backlogs, which is only expected to ease by 3 March, a source says.

The Sri Lankan ports of Colombo and Trincomalee have good availability of LSMGO, with prompt dates available.

Middle East

Availability continues to be under pressure across grades in Fujairah, while demand has been good. Lead times of around nine days are recommended for VLSFO and LSMGO in the UAE port, and almost 12 days are needed for HSFO. But some suppliers can offer the grades for prompt dates, a source says. Lead times for all these grades have increased from last week’s seven days.

The Omani ports of Muscat, Salalah, Sohar and Duqm have LSMGO readily available.

By Tuhin Roy


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 2 March, 2023

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