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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

03 Mar 2023

The following article regarding Europe and Africa bunker fuel availability has been provided by online marine fuel procurement platform ENGINE for post on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:

1 March 2023

  • Low sulphur grades tight in ARA
  • HSFO limited in Las Palmas, tight in Gibraltar
  • Long lead times for LSMGO and HSFO in South Africa

Northwest Europe

Prompt VLSFO and LSMGO availability is very tight in the ARA bunkering hub, sources say. VLSFO availability is tight because of barge loading delays at terminals of up to 2-3 days, which has had a knock-on impact on fuel availability and bunker deliveries, sources say.

Lead times of 5-6 days are recommended for VLSFO stems in the ARA region, while LSMGO requires around 2-3 days of lead times – which is unusually long, sources say.

LSMGO could tighten further in the first two weeks of March, a source says, as large cargo volumes are being exported to Singapore and other places. This comes despite the ARA’s independent gasoil and diesel stocks swelling to two-year highs with inflows from China, India and Saudi Arabia. These imports have replaced banned Russian imports, particularly diesel.

The ARA’s fuel oil stocks averaged 2% lower in February than in January, despite indications of higher net imports. Russian fuel oil imports were phased out in January after making up 10% of the ARA’s total in December. The UK has become the ARA’s biggest source of fuel oil imports, with 19% of the total in February.

In Germany’s Hamburg, bunker fuel availability is currently normal and lead times of 5-6 days are advised, a source says.

VLSFO and LSMGO supply availability is normal for delivery off Skaw, requiring lead times of up to seven days, a source says. Securing prompt delivery of HSFO can be difficult there, the source adds.


Prompt HSFO availability is tight in Gibraltar. Bunkering resumed last week after being suspended by rough weather for several days in mid-February. Suppliers were busy clearing backlogs last week, and that catch-up could have put pressure on fuel supply, sources say.

Possible weather disruptions are expected in the Gibraltar Strait ports of Gibraltar, Ceuta and Algeciras next week, sources say. This may affect bunkering operations in the ports and cause backlogs.

At least three suppliers in Algeciras are running behind schedule, sources say.

HSFO availability is tight in Las Palmas as suppliers are running low on stocks, a source says. One supplier in Las Palmas is mostly offering HSFO for delivery dates in mid-March, while another cannot commit to deliveries until the end of this month, a source says.

Bunker fuel availability is currently normal off Malta and in the Greek port of Piraeus, and recommended lead times are about five days for both locations, a source says. Bunker schedules came under pressure off Malta and in Piraeus in the second half of February, when vessels were diverted away from weather-stricken Gibraltar Strait ports to bunker in alternative locations.


Prompt LSMGO and HSFO availability is very tight in Durban and Algoa Bay, and lead times of up to 10 days are advised, a source says. VLSFO availability is normal.

Cloudy and rainy weather is forecast for the week ahead in the Mozambican port of Nacala, a source says. It could affect bunkering operations, but no vessels are currently scheduled to arrive for bunkers in the port this week.

Bunker demand has picked up in Mozambique’s capital city port of Maputo, meanwhile, with seven vessels scheduled to arrive for bunkers this week.

By Konica Bhatt


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 3 March, 2023

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