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ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Prompt VLSFO and HSFO still tight in Singapore; sluggish demand in Zhoushan; several East Asian ports face weather disruptions.




ENGINE East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

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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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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