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ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

08 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:

7 March, 2023

  • Prompt VLSFO and HSFO still tight in Singapore
  • Sluggish demand in Zhoushan
  • Several East Asian ports face weather disruptions


Singapore has been witnessing average demand so far this week. Availability of VLSFO and HSFO is getting tighter in the port. Some suppliers have limited stocks as they are obligated to supply bunkers to meet term contracts. Lead times of 5-8 days are recommended for VLSFO – almost same as last week. HSFO lead times have increased from 6-8 days last week, to 7-10 days now.

Availability of LSMGO remains very good in the port, with lead times unchanged at 2-3 days.

Residual fuel oil stocks in Singapore averaged 4% higher in February than in January, the latest data from Enterprise Singapore shows. The stock build was supported by a 1% uptick in net fuel oil imports.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s middle distillate stocks declined by 11% in February.

East Asia

Prompt availability of VLSFO remains slightly tight in Zhoushan as most suppliers are running low on stocks and replenishment cargoes have been delayed. But a lack of demand has prevented further tightening, a source says.

VLSFO and LSMGO stems require 3-5 days of lead time in the port, and HSFO needs 5-7 days. Lead times are unchanged from last week across all grades in Zhoushan.

Hong Kong continues to grapple with sluggish demand, a source says. Availability of all grades is normal to tight, with lead times of around seven days recommended – up from 5-6 days previously.

Strong wind gusts of 19-27 knots and waves of almost a metre are forecast to hit Hong Kong on 12 March, which might disrupt bunkering.

Bad weather is forecast intermittently in the South Korean ports of Ulsan, Onsan, Daesan, Taean and Yeosu between 9-12 March, which might impact bunker operations.

Demand has been average across South Korean ports so far this week. Availability is very tight for all grades in the country’s southern ports as most suppliers are running low on stocks, a source says. Lead times in southern ports vary widely between 5-12 days – almost the same as last week’s 3-11 days.

Meanwhile, availability across all grades has improved in western South Korean ports, with much shorter lead times of 4-5 days recommended, down from 3-11 days previously.

Both the Philippine port of Subic Bay and the Thai port of Leam Chabang are forecast experience adverse weather conditions on 14 March, which might hamper bunkering.

The Vietnamese port of Ho Chi Minh City faces rough conditions and potential bunker suspensions throughout this week, and the northern Vietnamese port of Hai Phong on 12 March.

South Asia

VLSFO and LSMGO availability remains good in India’s Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Kandla, with short lead times of 2-3 days.

Cochin and Chennai on the southern coast of India also have good availability, while VLSFO and LSMGO remain subject to enquiry in Tuticorin and Haldia. A supplier in Paradip is almost out of VLSFO.

A supplier can offer both VLSFO and LSMGO in the Sri Lankan port of Colombo, with lead times of around five days recommended.

Middle East

Bunker availability remains under pressure for all grades in Fujairah, while demand has been weak, a source says. VLSFO and LSMGO stems require around 10-11 days in the UAE port, which is up from nine days last week. But lead times for HSFO are down from about 12 days to eight days now.

While LSMGO remains readily available in Sharjah, VLSFO has been running low, a source says.

Prompt dates are readily available for LSMGO in the Omani ports of Muscat, Salalah, Sohar and Duqm.

By Tuhin Roy


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 8 March, 2023

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