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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

HSFO supply tight in ARA and Gibraltar Strait; low sulphur supply normal in Ceuta, Las Palmas; bad weather disrupts bunkering in Algoa Bay.




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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:

21 June 2023 

  • HSFO supply tight in ARA and Gibraltar Strait
  • Low sulphur supply normal in Ceuta, Las Palmas
  • Bad weather disrupts bunkering in Algoa Bay


Northwest Europe

Securing prompt delivery of HSFO grade can be difficult in Rotterdam and in the wider ARA hub. Tight availability of the product has pushed Rotterdam’s HSFO price higher in recent weeks. The grade's price has shot up by around $60/mt since 1 June, and flipped to a rare premium over Gibraltar.

Lead times of minimum 5-7 days are now recommended for HSFO bunker deliveries in the ARA, a source says. Suppliers are not offering stems for prompt dates there as several are running low on stocks, the source adds.

Multiple factors have contributed to the recent HSFO tightness in the ARA, according to various sources. A lack of access to banned Russian fuel oil imports, and crude oil to feed refineries, has rendered the ARA less resilient to supply shocks.

Since the EU banned crude imports from Russia, EU refineries have been shifting to sweet and sour grades from the US and other alternative sources. The recent Kurdish crude export suspension has prevented around 450,000 b/d of sour crude from reaching refineries in the EU and other destinations.

Shell's 404,000 b/d Pernis refinery - Europe's biggest - was offline for a three-month maintenance that was scheduled to end by late May. But a leak forced Shell to shut down two crude distillation units (CDUs) last week, Argus Media reported. Shell has been working to restart one of the CDUs that is "operating as normal" in recent days.

A recent draw of the ARA’s fuel oil stocks has added to the supply pressure in the bunkering hub. The ARA’s independently held fuel oil stocks averaged 11% lower in the first three weeks of this month, and dropped to their lowest monthly average since March, according to Insights Global data.

VLSFO requires around 5-6 days for full coverage from suppliers in the ARA.

Availability of LSMGO is better than for HSFO and VLSFO, with lead times of 3-4 days advised.

Supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal for delivery off Skaw, while HSFO is said to be relatively tighter. Lead times of up to seven days are advised for VLSFO and LSMGO. HSFO requires up to 10 days for delivery there, a source says.

Bunker fuel availability is normal in the German ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven, with recommended lead times of five days. Meanwhile, bunker demand is said to be weak in both ports, a source says.



VLSFO and LSMGO availability remains normal in Gibraltar and Algeciras, requiring lead times of around 3-4 days. However, securing very prompt delivery of HSFO can be difficult there. Lead times of 5-7 days are generally recommended to ensure full coverage from all suppliers in the region.

Minimum congestion was reported in Gibraltar, Algeciras, Ceuta and Malta on Wednesday, according to port agent MH Bland. Strong winds gusts of up to 26 knots are forecast to hit Gibraltar Bay in periods between Friday and Saturday, which could cause some delays.

Bunker operations are running normally in Las Palmas. Bunker fuel supply is normal there and in Ceuta. Lead times of up to five days are recommended for VLSFO and LSMGO deliveries in Ceuta.

Bunker demand has been weak in Malta so far this week, while availability is normal for all the main fuel grades, a source says.

In the Greek port of Piraeus, supply of HSFO and LSMGO is said to be normal for prompt dates, while VLSFO is currently tight. VLSFO supply is likely to improve by the end of this week, when replenishment stocks are expected to arrive, a source says.



Bunkering has been suspended in Algoa Bay since Monday due to bad weather conditions. Two vessels were waiting to receive bunkers at anchorage on Wednesday morning, according to Rennies Ships Agency. 20 vessels are scheduled to arrive for bunkers in Algoa Bay and Port Elizabeth in the remaining days of the week, it says. Heavy swells of up to 3.5 metres are forecast to continue until Friday morning, which could cause further delays and disruptions.

Meanwhile, bunker fuel supply is said to be normal in Durban and other South African ports. Lead times of up to seven days are advised for VLSFO and LSMGO deliveries in Durban, a source says.

Bunkering is progressing normally in Mozambique’s Nacala and Maputo ports amid conducive weather conditions, a source says. Bunker supply is said to be normal in both locations. A total of seven vessels are scheduled to arrive for bunkers across the ports this week, the source adds.

By Shilpa Sharma


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 22 June, 2023

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VPS launches Maress Summer Campaign Dashboard to track progress of vessels

Dashboard will enable the maritime industry to follow the development of its maritime emissions saving campaign, Maress Summer Campaign 2024, which is aimed at saving 15,000 tons of CO2.





VPS launches Maress Summer Campaign Dashboard to track progress of vessels

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Thursday (20 June) said it launched its Maress Campaign Dashboard to enable the maritime industry to follow the development of its maritime emissions saving campaign for this year.

It said the Maress Summer Campaign 2024, which started on 1 June and will run for 90 days, is ongoing and is aimed at achieving the goal of saving 15,000 tons of CO2.

“Since our last update, the number of participating vessels has increased from 278 to 303. This is more than doubling of the vessels that participated in the campaign last year,” VPS said in a social media post.

“The industry-wide effort to drive decarbonisation is showing fantastic results, with innovative initiatives and remarkable engagement from vessels across the board.”

It added the main purpose of the campaign is to create collaboration and awareness around emission reductions. 

“This industry-first tool is now open for everyone in the industry to track the collective progress. Updated daily, it provides a transparent and exciting view of the leaders in each category, showcasing the close race towards efficiency gains,” VPS said on the dashboard.

Note: The new dashboard by VPS for the Maress Summer Campaign 2024 can be found here.

Related: VPS to organise Maress Decarbonisation Campaign in 2024
Related: VPS wins OSJ Annual Environment Award 2024 for Maress Summer Campaign
Related: VPS records 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emission cut from campaign with top OSV players
Related: VPS Decarbonisation to kickstart summer campaign to reduce shipping emissions


Photo credit: VPS
Published: 21 June, 2024

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UECC reduces emissions in 2023 by more than doubling bio bunker fuel use

UECC boosted the use of ISCC-certified sustainable biofuel B100 on both owned and time-chartered ships to 14,000 mt last year, up from 6,500 mt in 2022.






United European Car Carriers (UECC) recently announced its progress of using alternative bunker fuels and said it was on track to exceed its goal of a 45% emissions reduction by 2030 after more than doubling biofuel usage across its fleet last year.

UECC boosted the use of ISCC-certified sustainable biofuel B100 on both owned and time-chartered ships to 14,000 metric tonnes (mt) last year, up from 6,500 mt in 2022.

The company achieved a total tank-to-wake emissions reduction of over 60,000 tonnes across its 14-vessel fleet in 2023, of which it is estimated increased biofuel use accounted for 40,000 tonnes, with the remainder coming from LNG. This was a near-250% increase on the emissions cut of 24,200 tonnes achieved in 2022.

TheEuropean sustainable shortsea carrier said it has made significant strides in decarbonisation of its fleet of pure car and truck carriers (PCTCs) with the addition of five LNG-fuelled newbuilds and the increased rollout of biofuels in recent years - and this is now showing commercial payback for clients in the light of new green regulations, according to Energy and Sustainability Manager Daniel Gent.

“Consequently, we are well on the way to reach or exceed our 45% emissions reduction target by 2030. This clearly has a positive impact for those bio-supportive cargo owners in terms of reducing costs related to the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS),” Gent said.

“Furthermore, 85% of the vessels in our fleet achieved a C-rating last year with the IMO’s Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) and this year we expect all our ships to achieve this rating or above.”

Gent also pointed out the UECC fleet is already in surplus in relation to the requirement for an average 14.5% reduction in GHG intensity by 2035 under the FuelEU Maritime regulation due to be implemented next year.

The environmental performance of UECC’s current fleet of nine owned and five time-chartered PCTCs has been enhanced through delivery over the past seven years of five eco-friendly newbuilds - a pair of dual-fuelled LNG vessels and trio of multi-fuel LNG battery hybrid units.

The use of LNG reduces emissions of CO2 by around 25%, SOx and particulate matter by 90% and NOx by 85%, while the latest battery hybrid newbuilds exceed the IMO target to reduce carbon intensity by at least 40% from 2008 levels by 2030.

UECC is now looking at sourcing alternative carbon-neutral fuels such as bio-LNG and e-LNG for these vessels to further improve their green performance, according to Gent.

UECC’s adoption of alternative fuels has expanded exponentially since the programme was launched in 2020 with piloting the use of biofuel on its vessel Autosky, bolstered by valuable support from owners of its time-chartered vessels, clients such as BMW, fuel suppliers like GoodFuels, industry partners, and parent companies NYK and Wallenius Lines.

“We are now in the fifth year of running our biofuels programme and it has gone from strength to strength. UECC has sought to take a leading role through early-stage analysis of new biofuels to evaluate their potential in terms of technical suitability, sustainability and commercial viability, both  to deliver the best solution for our customers and give the sector a blueprint for assessment and adoption of such fuels based on these three pillars,” Gent explained.

He added that, in terms of sustainability criteria, the company looks for biofuels with the biggest environmental impact, with a typical minimum 90% reduction in GHG intensity from well-to-wake compared with conventional marine fuels. 

UECC has steadily expanded the use of green fuels to cover 30% of its fleet in 2023, up from 18% in 2022, and is on track to achieve 50% coverage this year towards the goal of 80% by 2030, though Gent is confident of surpassing this figure.

He said being proactive in trialling new alternative fuels has also promoted engagement with fuel providers, which has led to UECC’s latest initiative together with biofuel supplier ACT Group as part of an industry collaboration to test the Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL)-based biofuel FS.100 that he believes has “great potential for sustainable shipping”.

“Increasing the pool of sustainable drop-in fuels offers a pathway for shipping to achieve rapid emissions cuts on existing vessels. Combining alternative fuels with energy efficiency measures such as hull cleaning and electrification with shore power can further accelerate decarbonisation,” Gent said.

“By progressively advancing the use of alternative fuels, we are reducing emissions exposure for our clients and securing regulatory compliance long into the future, while also promoting industry efforts to reach the net-zero goal,” he concluded.


Photo credit: United European Car Carriers
Published: 21 June, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

CMA CGM takes delivery of fourth LNG-fuelled containership

Naming ceremony and delivery of vessel, organised at HD Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, South Korea, marked entry of the fourth vessel in a series of ten specially designed for Northern Europe feeder services.





CMA CGM takes delivery of fourth LNG-fuelled containership

French shipping giant on Wednesday (19 June) said it celebrated the naming ceremony and delivery of its fourth LNG-fuelled container ship, CMA CGM Tivoli.

Organised at HD Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, South Korea, on 16 June, the event marked the official entry of the fourth vessel in a series of ten specially designed for Northern Europe feeder services.

“Featuring optimised features for 45-foot containers, increased capacity for refrigerated containers, and innovative forward accommodation to enhance cargo loading and aerodynamics, CMA CGM Tivoli distinguishes itself with a high ‘length to beam" ratio to maximise hydrodynamic efficiency,” the firm said in a social media post. 

“She departed the shipyard on June 15th, 2024, bound for Busan. We wish fair winds and smooth seas to Captain Artur Dumbrov and his crew.” 


Photo credit: CMA CGM
Published: 21 June, 2024

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