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JLC China Bunker Fuel Market Monthly Report (February 2024)

China’s bonded bunker fuel sales decreased in February, due to a rise in bonded LSFO prices, as well as the Chinese New Year holiday and severe weather in the north, says Beijing-based JLC.

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JLC China Bunker Fuel Market Monthly Report (February 2024)

Beijing-based commodity market information provider JLC Network Technology Co. recently shared its JLC China Bunker monthly report for February 2024 with Manifold Times through an exclusive arrangement:

Bunker Fuel Demand

China’s bonded bunker fuel sales fall in February

China’s bonded bunker fuel sales decreased in February, due to a rise in bonded low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) prices, as well as the Chinese New Year holiday and severe weather in the north.

The country sold about 1.50 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, with the daily sales down by 11.80% month on month to 51,641 mt, JLC’s data shows.

The sales by Chimbusco, Sinopec (Zhoushan) and China ChangJiang Bunker (Sinopec) slipped to 500,000 mt, 570,000 mt and 26,000 mt in February, while those by suppliers with regional bunkering licenses dropped to 361,600 mt, down from 495,000 mt in January. At the same time, SinoBunker sold about 40,000 of bonded bunker fuel, unchanged month on month, the data indicates.

China’s bonded bunker fuel exports rally in December 2023

China’s bonded bunker fuel exports rallied in December 2023, because of a relatively low base a month earlier.

The country recorded about 1.59 million mt of bonded bunker fuel exports in the month, jumping by 16.18% month on month, JLC estimated, with reference to data from the General Administration of Customs of PRC (GACC).

Heavy bunker fuel exports amounted to 1.51 million mt in the month, accounting for 94.85% of the total, while light bunker fuel exports settled at 81,900 mt, accounting for 5.15%.

Suppliers with national bunkering licenses exported roughly 1.17 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, accounting for 73.32%, with Sinopec Fuel Oil and Chimbusco taking 67.63%. In the meantime, enterprises with regional licenses exported about 424,100 mt, occupying 26.68%.

The month-on-month increase in the exports was mainly ascribed to a relatively low base in November when Chinese refiners cut their bonded bunker fuel exports to a ten-month low.

However, tighter export quotas and low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) supply limited the growth in December’s bonded bunker fuel exports.

On a year-on-year comparison, China’s bonded bunker fuel exports surged by 32.32% in December.

China exported a total of 19.66 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in 2023, growing by 3.06% from the previous year, accelerating from a rise of 1.09% in January-November.

(Note: There is no breakdown of the country’s exports for January 2024 yet, though the GACC has announced the combined exports for January and February.)

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Domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel demand plunges in February

Domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel demand plunged in February, as shipping demand was tepid during the Chinese New Year holiday and bunker fuel was still overpriced. Domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel demand was estimated at 360,000 mt in the month, a slump of 70,000 mt or 16.28% from a month earlier, JLC’s data shows.

At the same time, domestic-trade marine gas oil (MGO) demand settled at 120,000 mt, stable month on month, the data indicates. Domestic-trade light bunker fuel demand leveled off, and the inland shipping market stayed lukewarm.

Bunker Fuel Supply

China’s bonded bunker fuel imports tumble in December

China's bonded bunker fuel imports stood at 315,200 mt in December, a slump of 41.29% month on month and 23.92% year on year, JLC estimated, with reference to data from the General Administration of Customs of PRC (GACC).

Though domestic LSFO output declined further, most distributors continued to cut their imports in the month amid high import costs.

South Korea topped all suppliers by shipping 95,400 mt to China in December, accounting for 30.26% of the latter's total imports, while Malaysia climbed to the second place with 88,600 mt, accounting for 28.11%. Iraq and Japan ranked third and fourth with 86,600 mt and 30,700 mt, making up 27.46% and 9.73% respectively. 

Russia slipped to the fifth place with 13,000 mt, occupying 4.12%, while Singapore fell to the sixth place with only 1,000 mt, accounting for 0.32%.

China's bonded bunker fuel imports are expected to move lower in January 2024 because domestic LSFO production will return to normal after the release of the first batch of LSFO export quotas for this year.

(Note: There is no breakdown of the country’s imports for January 2024 yet, though the GACC has announced the combined imports for January and February.)

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Domestic-trade bunker fuel supply tightens in February

Domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel supply tightened in February, as blenders slowed down production amid the Chinese New Year holiday.

Chinese blenders supplied about 400,000 mt of domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel in the month, a decline of 40,000 mt or 9.09% from January, JLC’s data shows. Traders and shipowners reduced purchases after finishing pre-holiday restocking, forcing blenders to reduce their output at the beginning of the month. Most blenders continued to lower output during the holiday, and some even suspended production. Heavy bunker fuel supply did not grow much after the holiday as some blenders were still on vacation, also because of relatively tight supply of blendstock.

Similarly, domestic-trade marine gas oil (MGO) supply diminished to 130,000 mt in the month, down by 10,000 mt or 7.14% month on month, the data shows. Refineries’ enthusiasm for MGO production was still low in February, as domestic MGO prices dipped and cargo delivery was not smooth amid bad weather.

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JLC Network Technology Co., Ltd is recognized as the leading information provider in China. We specialized in providing the transparent, high-value, authoritative market intelligence and professional analysis in commodity market. Our expertise covers oil, gas, coal, chemical, plastic, rubber, fertilizer and metal industry, etc.

JLC China Bunker Fuel Market Monthly Report is published by JLC Network Technology Co., Ltd every month on China bunker market, demand, supply, margin, freight index, forecast and so on. The report provides full-scale & concise insight into China bunker oil market.

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be photocopied, reproduced, retransmitted, put into a computer system or otherwise redistributed without prior authorization from JLC.

Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (January 2024)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (December 2023)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (November 2023)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (October 2023)
Related: JLC China Bunker Fuel Market Monthly Report (September 2023)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (August 2023)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (July 2023)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (June 2023)
Related: JLC China Bunker Fuel Market Monthly Report (May 2023)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (March 2023)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (February 2023)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (January 2023)

Note: China-based commodity market information provider JLC Technology has been providing Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times China bunker volume data since 2020. Data from earlier periods are available here.

 

Photo credit: JLC Network Technology
Published: 11 March 2024

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Alternative Fuels

WEF: South Africa has great potential as a production and bunkering hub for zero-emission bunker fuels

Report highlighted a clear demand signal for bunkering ZEF in selected South African ports will be needed to realise the country’s opportunity to become a global hotspot for zero-emission shipping.

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WEF: South Africa has great potential as a production and bunkering hub for zero-emission bunker fuels

South Africa has great potential as a production and bunkering hub for zero-emission shipping fuels – but it needs global demand to get the ball rolling, according to a report by the World Economic Forum recently.

The white paper, titled Decarbonising South Africa’s Shipping and Trucking Sectors, presented the findings and recommendations from a First Movers Coalition workshop held in South Africa in March 2024, which focused on decarbonising the country’s shipping and trucking sectors and developing its potential to produce green hydrogen.

The report said more than 200 dual-fuel methanol vessels have been ordered globally, requiring over 20 Mt of e-methanol fuel per annum to achieve 100% zero-emission operability.

However, fuel availability at that scale is expected to be challenged until at least 2030-35. This demand creates an opportunity for South African producers to secure early customers and sign advance offtake agreements, providing certainty for new projects and improving investment prospects.

The study noted that ammonia also brings advantages as a zero-emission fuel (ZEF), such as high carbon-emission savings, unlimited feedstock (nitrogen) availability and existing logistical infrastructure around the globe. 

While ammonia engines will reach the market from 2025 at the earliest, major carriers like Trafigura and BHP are already placing orders for dual-fuel ammonia vessels.

The World Bank has conducted a pre-feasibility study on establishing green shipping fuel value chains at the ports of Boegoebaai and Saldanha Bay. The study identifies ammonia as the preferred ZEF production choice for South Africa, due to the scarcity of biogenic carbon dioxide to produce methanol. 

“Most of the fuel’s cost comes from hydrogen feedstock – but by leveraging abundant wind and solar supply, the two ports will be able to generate renewable electricity at scale to produce competitive green hydrogen for local industry use (e.g. green steel) and to produce green ammonia for export to the global shipping industry,” the report said.

On bunkering, the report stated political disturbance and security risks in the Red Sea during 2023 to 24 forced many shipping operators to abandon the Suez Canal and re-route their cargo around the Cape of Good Hope. 

Even without those risks, operators shipping lower value or less time-critical cargo may use the Cape route rather than the more expensive Suez Canal, adding two weeks to a ship’s voyage time from Asia to Europe.

“This extra travel time – plus the lower density of zero-emission fuels – could compel vessels running on ZEF to bunker in South Africa before reaching Europe,” it said. 

“Access to zero-emission fuels therefore opens up the possibility of South African ports positioning themselves as bunkering hubs to supply passing shipping traffic.”

“Furthermore, the potential for South Africa to produce e-methanol and e-ammonia has triggered plans to develop ‘green corridors’ – effectively routes connecting ports for vessels to sail on ZEF.

However, the report highlighted a clear demand signal for bunkering ZEF in selected South African ports will be needed to realise the country’s opportunity to become a global hotspot for zero-emission shipping.

“As local demand may take some years to build up, certainty from global demand will play a key role. It is also important to assess different uses for hydrogen beyond maritime fuel, to determine how multi-sectoral offtake can improve the business case for potential project developers,” it said.

Note: The full white paper, titled ‘Decarbonising South Africa’s Shipping and Trucking Sectors’, can be viewed here.

 

Photo credit: World Economic Forum
Published: 21 June, 2024

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Biofuel

DB Schenker to ship Avolta cargo between Europe and US with bio bunker fuel

All containers that Avolta will move on the Barcelona – Miami route, using biofuel, will be shipped on low emission through application of waste-based marine biofuels and additional units of sustainable marine biofuel.

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DB Schenker

Travel retailer Avolta recently said it entered an agreement in Spain with logistics service provider DB Schenker for the transport of goods using marine biofuel between Europe and the United States.

From now on, all containers that Avolta will move on the Barcelona - Miami route, using biofuel, will be shipped on low emission through the application of waste-based marine biofuels and additional units of sustainable marine biofuel, to achieve additional compensation of the biofuel’s upstream emissions.

“This biofuel switch could prevent over 150 tons of CO2e Well-to-Wake emissions per year, based on Avolta’s 2023 container volume on this route, reducing up to 84% of the CO2 emissions,” the firm said.

The fuel used is Used Cooking oil methyl ester (UCOME) and is based on renewable and sustainable sources, mainly waste cooking oil. 

The application will be guided by the Book & Claim System, a set of principles that have been developed through a global, multi-stakeholder process with third-party validation to ensure that the use of this chain of custody model has full traceability and credibility, as well as a demonstrable climate impact.

Camillo Rossotto, Chief Public Affairs & ESG Officer Avolta, said: “We are taking a significant step forward towards decarbonising our shipments and route transportations.”

“This agreement represents the starting point of the transitioning to biofuel for ocean freight which will contribute to decarbonising our logistic emission. Our company's commitment to sustainability is firm and long-term and, as proof of this, we are planning to increase the volume of containers transported using biofuel, advancing in the sustainable and low-emission transportation industry."

Miguel Ángel de la Torre, director of maritime transport at DB Schenker in Iberia, said: "Our mission is to help, facilitate, and guide our customers in the sustainable transformation, and on this occasion, we are doing so by offering this biofuel so that they can convert their freight transport into low-emission transport.”

“In this way, our customer Avolta is not only pioneering and helping to reduce emissions but is also ahead of the new regulations and associated benefits that will be tightened in the coming years.”

 

Photo credit: DB Schenker
Published: 21 June, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

MAN Energy Solutions rejoins SEA-LNG coalition

‘MAN ES, alongside other members of the SEA-LNG coalition, are making great strides in tackling methane slip in engine technologies where it still exists,’ says Peter Keller, SEA-LNG chairman.

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MAN Energy Solutions rejoins SEA-LNG

Global multi-sector industry coalition SEA LNG on Thursday (20 June) announced that MAN Energy Solutions (MAN ES) will rejoin its coalition.  

As a provider of flexible and powerful propulsion solutions for LNG marine applications, SEA LNG said MAN ES caters to the growing demands of the shipping industry for LNG propulsion and equipment across dual fuel LNG-powered ships, LNG carriers, FRSUs, LNG feeder and bunker vessels, as well as for gas supply infrastructure. All MAN ES technology is fully compatible with net-zero biomethane and e-methane.

“MAN ES’s technical expertise adds to the technical skills and experience of SEA-LNG members, already achieving reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. MAN ES’s two-stroke high-pressure engine technology is one of those delivering virtually no methane slip in the LNG combustion process today,” it said.

In addition, MAN ES is making significant progress in eradicating methane slip in its four-stroke engines. Over the last ten years, MAN ES has already been able to halve methane slip in its four-stroke gas engines and is aiming for a further 20% reduction by continuously improving the combustion process.

MAN ES's IMOKAT II project has secured investment from the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Climate Action to develop an after-treatment technology to further reduce methane slip from its four-stroke engines, ultimately aiming for a 70% reduction of methane emissions at 100% load.  

Stefan Eefting, Senior Vice President and Head of MAN PrimeServ Germany at MAN Energy Solutions, said: “While shipping remains the most environmentally-friendly form of transport, the many vessels powered by our technology means that MAN Energy Solutions has a special responsibility to help move the industry to net-zero; we are very happy to work with like-minded partners in achieving this.”

“Our unique ability to assess the future-fuel mix is, in great part, based on our dual-fuel engine development, which promotes LNG and other alternative green fuels that have a key role to play on the path to decarbonisation.” 

Peter Keller, SEA-LNG chairman, said: “The shipping industry’s decarbonisation drive is at a tipping point as global and regional regulations begin to impact shipowners financially.”

“As these regulatory changes continue to be felt, LNG as a marine fuel, and its decarbonisation pathway through liquified biomethane and e-methane, offers the most practical and realistic solution. The LNG solution is playing a critical role in enabling emissions reductions, starting today.”

“If we want to continue to unlock this pathway’s potential, we need the right expertise and MAN ES’s experience and insights will be critical to ensuring LNG, biomethane and e-methane firmly take their place in the basket of alternative marine fuels.”

Keller continued: “We are proud to represent the entire LNG value chain, and the addition of MAN ES only adds to our roster of industry-leading first movers to promote the LNG pathway. In particular, MAN ES, alongside other members of the SEA-LNG coalition, are making great strides in tackling methane slip in engine technologies where it still exists. With constant advances in technology, we are confident the issue of methane slip can be solved within this decade.” 

 

Photo credit: MAN Energy Solutions
Published: 21 June, 2024

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