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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

06 Apr 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:

5 April 2023 

  • ARA fuel oil stocks grew with UK imports in March
  • Rough weather disrupts Gibraltar Strait bunkering
  • Availability normal in Durban and Algoa Bay


Northwest Europe

Fixing prompt VLSFO and LSMGO stems can be difficult in Rotterdam and in the wider ARA hub as delivery capacity is still under pressure with several suppliers there, sources say. Recommended lead times for the two grades in Rotterdam are around 3-5 days.

HSFO availability is slightly better than last week in the region, but prompt supply remains subject to enquiries, sources say. Lead times of up to four days are advised for the grade.

In Belgium’s Ghent, prompt supply of LSMGO is said to be tight. Two suppliers have been running low on stocks this week, a source says.

The ARA’s independently held fuel oil stocks averaged 9% higher in March than in February as importers pulled large volumes from the UK and other places to substitute banned Russian product.

The UK emerged as the top source for the ARA’s fuel oil imports in March, going by the Vortexa data. Fuel oil imports from the UK accounted for 13% of the region’s total imports. Other sources of fuel oil imports were Saudi Arabia (12%), Poland (10%), Germany (9%) and Denmark (8%).

The ARA’s gasoil inventories averaged nearly 1% lower in March than in February. France became the ARA’s top gasoil import source in March and accounted for 27% of its total. Other sources of gasoil imports were the UK (20%), Brazil (8%), Norway (6%) and Spain (5%).

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be tight for prompt delivery off Skaw, requiring lead times of up to seven days, a source says. Delivery prospects for HSFO are subject to enquiries, the source adds.



Rough weather conditions have disrupted bunkering in key Gibraltar Strait ports this week. Strong winds and swells forced a bunker suspension in Gibraltar and at Algeciras’ outer anchorage on Wednesday, according to port agent MH Bland says.

Algeciras’ more sheltered inner anchorage was open for bunker operations on Wednesday “but with minimum inbound movements” of vessels, MH Bland says.

Bunkering was also suspended at anchorage in Ceuta, where four vessels were scheduled to arrive for bunkers on Wednesday.

The weather is forecast to remain bad in Algeciras, Ceuta and Gibraltar until Friday, which could cause bunker delays, depending on the intensity and direction of waves and swells.

Bunker deliveries have been suspended at Las Palmas’ outer anchorage since Tuesday. Deliveries at the port’s more sheltered inner anchorage have also been halted since Tuesday on instruction from the harbour master, MH Bland said.

While bunkering remains halted in Las Palmas, bunker calls could be diverted to the nearby port of Tenerife, where moderate weather conditions are expected this week.

Bunker fuels availability is said to be normal in Gibraltar, Algeciras and Ceuta, but deliveries will remain subject to weather conditions, sources say. Two suppliers can offer deliveries for prompt dates, a source says.

Meanwhile, continued spells of rough weather in Gibraltar Strait ports could divert more vessels to the Portuguese ports of Lisbon and Sines for bunker-only calls. LSMGO and VLSFO availability is normal in Lisbon and Sines, a source says.

Fuel supply is also normal off Malta, but pressure on delivery barge schedules has tightened prompt availability, a source says.

Bunker supply of all grades is normal in the Greek port of Piraeus, a source says.



Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal in Durban and Algoa Bay. Lead times of up to seven days are advised for deliveries in these two locations, a source says.

However, supply of VLSFO is said to be tight in Cape Town, where securing deliveries for prompt dates can be difficult, a source says.

Bunkering resumed in Algoa Bay on Tuesday after being suspended for a day due to bad weather, according to Rennies Ships Agency. Weather conditions are forecast to remain conducive until Friday morning. However, strong winds and swells are forecast to hit the bay in periods between Friday and Sunday, which could complicate deliveries there. Eight vessels are due to arrive for bunkers in Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay this week, Rennies says.

By Shilpa Sharma


Photo credit and souce: ENGINE
Published: 6 April, 2023

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