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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

16 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:

15 March, 2023

  • ARA replaces Russian with Saudi fuel oil imports
  • HSFO supply improves in Gibraltar
  • Mozambican ports mostly unscathed after cyclone hit


Northwest Europe

VLSFO and LSMGO delivery capacity is still under pressure with several suppliers in Rotterdam, a source says. Barge loading delays at oil terminals have held back delivery schedules. One supplier is Rotterdam waited at least two days to load a barge earlier this week, the source adds.

Recommended lead times for LSMGO delivery in Rotterdam are around three days, which is longer than usual, a source says. Lead times of around five days are advised for VLSFO deliveries in the ARA region, and up to six days for HSFO.

Meanwhile, the ARA’s independently held fuel oil stocks have averaged 9% higher so far this month than in February, according to Insights Global data.

In the absence of Russian inflows, Saudi Arabia has become the ARA’s top fuel oil import source this month, according to cargo tracker Vortexa. Fuel oil imports from Saudi Arabia have accounted for 35% of the region’s total. Other sources of fuel oil imports have been Lithuania (23%), Denmark (12%), Poland and Estonia (9% each).

The region’s gasoil inventories have averaged 1% higher so far this month than in February, supported by non-Russian inflows. Most of these import volumes have been sourced from Singapore (26%), Qatar (16%), the UK, Spain and Turkey (10% each).

In Germany’s Hamburg, supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal, requiring lead times of around 5-6 days, a source says. Delivery prospects for HSFO are subject to enquiries, the source adds.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO grades is normal-to-tight for delivery off Skaw, while HSFO supply remains tight there, a source says. Lead times of up to seven days are advised for VLSFO and LSMGO deliveries.

In France, extended strike action by refinery workers has started to impact bunker supply to some ports, according to sources. Workers in France are protesting the government’s plans to reform the country’s retirement system, including raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Strikes by workers unions continued for an eighth day on Wednesday, and were fuelled further on Saturday after the French Senate voted in favour of President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform plan.

Securing bunker deliveries is currently difficult in the ports of Dunkirk and Le Havre on the French Atlantic Sea coast, a source says. Bunker supply in these ports is subject to delivery dates and quantities.



HSFO supply has improved from last week in Gibraltar, sources say. One supplier in Gibraltar can offer all fuel grades with lead times of around 3-4 days, a source says. That is down from recommended lead times of up to six days last week.

HSFO supply has also improved in Malta, while it is still tight for prompt dates in Las Palmas, a source says.

Bunker operations are running normally in Las Palmas, but heavy swells are forecast to hit the port on Friday, which could complicate deliveries.

A bit of congestion was reported in Gibraltar on Wednesday morning, when seven vessels were waiting to bunker, port agent MH Bland says. Some congestion was reported in Algeciras as well, while no backlog was reported in Ceuta and Malta, MH Bland says.

Bunker fuel availability is currently normal off Malta, a source says. Some suppliers can offer prompt deliveries of all the fuel grades.

VLSFO is still tight in the Greek port of Piraeus, while availability of HSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal there.

Prompt delivery schedules are under pressure in Barcelona, a source says One supplier is completely booked for prompt dates.



Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in Durban and Algoa Bay, requiring lead times of up to seven days, sources say.

Strong winds and heavy swells are forecast to hit the bay between Wednesday and Friday. This could complicate deliveries and hold back some of the eight vessels scheduled to arrive for bunkers this week. Bunkering was in progress on Wednesday morning, with one vessel receiving fuel at anchorage, Rennies Ships Agency says.

Meanwhile, Cyclone Freddy hit central Mozambique on Sunday, but did not have any impact on bunker deliveries in Nacala and Maputo, a source says. Bunker operations are running smoothly across the two ports in Mozambique, where a total of five are due to arrive for bunkers this week, down from seven last week.

By Shilpa Sharma


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 16 March, 2023

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