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JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (April 2024)

China saw a drop in its bonded bunker fuel sales in April as it sold about 1.63 million mt of bonded bunker fuel due lower production and a severe shortage of barge capacity at ports, says Beijing-based JLC.





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

Bunker Fuel Demand

China’s bonded bunker fuel sales drop in April

China saw a drop in its bonded bunker fuel sales in April, because of lower production and a severe shortage of barge capacity at ports.

The country sold about 1.63 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, with the daily sales down by 7.48% month on month to 54,270 mt, JLC’s data shows.

Bonded bunker fuel sales by Chimbusco and Sinopec (Zhoushan) respectively dropped to 490,000 mt and 580,000 mt in April, while those by suppliers with regional bunkering licenses fell to 468,100 mt. At the same time, SinoBunker and China Changjiang Bunker (Sinopec) settled at 6,000 mt and 3,000 mt, without change from March, the data shows.

China’s LSFO supply tightened in April when refineries’ unit maintenance peaked, leading to a fall in the country’s bonded bunker fuel sales. Meanwhile, Chinese customs strengthened the supervision of bunker barges, dampening ports’ bunkering business to some extent.

China’s bonded bunker fuel exports grow in March

China’s bonded bunker fuel exports grew in March, as domestic refiners boosted low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) production and relatively low LSFO prices attracted more shipowners.

The country exported 1.41 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, climbing by 13.38% from a month earlier, with the daily exports up 6.06% to 45,555 mt, JLC estimated, with reference to data from the General Administration of Customs of the PRC (GACC).

Heavy bunker fuel exports amounted to about 1.32 million mt, accounting for 93.13% of the country’s total, while light bunker fuel exports settled at 97,000 mt, accounting for 6.87%.

Chinese refiners expanded their bonded bunker fuel exports when domestic supply increased amid larger LSFO production. China’s LSFO output rose to about 1.40 million mt in March, with the daily output growing by 5.41% month on month to 45,000 mt, JLC’s data shows.

Meanwhile, LSFO prices at Chinese ports were more competitive than those in Singapore and neighbouring regions, attracting more shipowners to refuel in China, especially in Shanghai and Zhoushan.

However, on a year-on-year comparison, China’s bonded bunker fuel exports plunged by 31.70% in March.

In the first three months of this year, China’s bonded bunker fuel exports totaled 4.44 million mt, a fall of 11.27% from the same months in 2023. Heavy bunker fuel exports settled at 4.16 million mt in the period, accounting for 93.81%, while light bunker fuel exports settled at 274,500 mt, accounting for 6.19%.

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Domestic-trade bunker fuel demand shrinks in April

Domestic-trade bunker fuel demand shrank in April, as shipowners were still hesitant to make deals and new orders were limited when terminal demand for cargo transportation stayed relatively weak.

Domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel demand came in at 420,000 mt in the month, down by 10,000 mt or 2.33% month on month, JLC’s data indicates.

In the meantime, domestic-trade light bunker fuel demand was 130,000 mt, down by 10,000 mt or 7.14% from a month earlier. Shipowners with a wait-and-see attitude just based purchases on rigid demand.

Bunker Fuel Supply

China’s bonded bunker fuel imports extend surges in March

China’s bonded bunker fuel imports extended surges in March, as freight rates for imported cargoes decreased and high-sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) demand from Zhoushan grew.

The country imported about 383,300 mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, surging by 72.11% from the previous month and 118.28% from a year earlier, JLC estimated, with reference to data from the General Administration of Customs of PRC (GACC).

HSFO demand from Zhoushan Port was growing amid the expansion of its high-sulfur bunkering business, coupled with a decline in freight rates for imported cargoes, pushing up China’s bonded HSFO imports.

China did not import any bonded low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) as the economic efficiency for import was still relatively low. Delivered-to-vessel prices and premiums of LSFO at the ports in East China dropped, as domestic LSFO supply increased on larger production.

Malaysia surpassed Russia to become the largest supplier in March, exporting 179,600 mt of bonded bunker fuel to China which accounted for 46.85% of China’s total imports. Russia slipped to the second place with 162,600 mt, accounting for 42.43%, followed by South Korea with 41,100 mt, accounting for 10.72%.

China’s bonded bunker fuel imports totaled about 965,200 mt in the first quarter of this year, a dramatic rise of 52.60% from the same quarter in 2023.

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Domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel supply tightens in April

Domestic-trade heavy bunker fuel supply tightened in April, as blenders’ blending interest was limited by decreasing availability of low-sulfur residual oil and the cargo delivery was not smooth.

Chinese blenders supplied about 430,000 mt of heavy bunker fuel in the month, a loss of 30,000 mt or 6.52% from March, JLC’s data shows.

At the same time, domestic-trade MGO supply was estimated at 160,000 mt, stable month on month, the data shows. Refineries’ enthusiasm for MGO production was relatively fair in April.

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Bunker Prices,Profits

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Yvette Luo
[email protected] 

Sales (Beijing)
Tony Tang
[email protected] 

Sales (Singapore)
Ginny Teo
[email protected]
[email protected] 

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 (March 2024)
Related: JLC China Bunker Fuel Market Monthly Report (February 2024)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (January 2024)

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: 13 May 2024

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Methanol Institute: Breakthroughs and Strategic Moves in Sustainable Marine Fuels (Week 23, 3-9 June 2024)

This week, the maritime industry made pivotal advancements in methanol fuel technology, forged strategic partnerships, and achieved key regulatory milestones, highlighting a concerted effort toward greener marine operations.





Methanol Institute logo

The Methanol Institute, provides an exclusive weekly commentary on developments related to the adoption of methanol as a bunker fuel, including significant related events recorded during the week, for the readers of bunkering publication Manifold Times:

More heavy hitters are getting behind the supply of methanol to marine customers as the demand for newbuildings continues to strengthen.

The ramp-up in biofuels provided by energy major ExxonMobil are expected to support the industry’s decarbonization process as owners place further orders, vessels hit the water and new bunkering operations are planned.

Methanol marine fuel related developments for Week 23 of 2024:

ExxonMobil Expands Marine Biofuels Offering for Shipping Industry
Date: June 4th, 2024

Key Points: ExxonMobil is expanding its marine biofuels offering, actively engaging with multiple customers, including Hapag Lloyd and Wallenius Wilhelmsen. Recent deliveries from its Fawley refinery to several UK ports have demonstrated successful biofuel use without engine modifications. Biofuels are expected to play a significant role in the first phase of shipping's decarbonization, with a future shift towards methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen. ExxonMobil is exploring technologies and pathways to meet the industry's low-emission fuel needs.

DNV: Growing Demand for Methanol-Fueled Vessels Evident in May Newbuild Orders
Date: June 4th, 2024

Key Points: DNV's recent data shows a significant increase in orders for methanol-fueled vessels, with 23 out of 33 new orders in May being methanol-powered. This trend highlights the maritime industry’s growing appetite for methanol as a viable alternative fuel, driven by its lower emissions and alignment with decarbonization goals. Methanol's role is increasingly pivotal as the shipping sector seeks sustainable and compliant fuel options to meet future environmental regulations.

NKT Orders Methanol-Powered Cable-Laying Vessel
Date: June 5th, 2024

Key Points: NKT has ordered a 176-meter dual-fuel cable-laying vessel, the NKT Eleonora, capable of running on methanol, HVO, and MDO. Scheduled for operation in 2027, this vessel reflects NKT's commitment to sustainability and enhancing installation capacity. The decision to build a methanol-fueled vessel aligns with NKT’s strategic goal of providing greener power cable solutions, supporting the industry's shift towards environmentally friendly fuels.

Hagland Shipping Orders Methanol-Convertible Bulk Carriers
Date: June 5th, 2024

Key Points: Hagland Shipping has ordered four 5,000 DWT dry bulk carriers from Dutch shipyard Royal Bodewes. These vessels are designed to be easily converted to methanol propulsion in the future, reducing CO2 emissions by 40-50% and NOx emissions by 90-95% compared to the oldest ships in their fleet. The first ship is expected to be delivered by the end of 2025, enhancing Hagland's commitment to sustainability and emission reduction in Northern Europe and the Baltic region.

Headway Technology Group Opens New Office in Greece
Date: June 6th, 2024

Key Points: Headway Technology Group (Qingdao) Co., Ltd. has inaugurated a new office in Greece, coinciding with the first day of the Posidonia 2024 exhibition. This expansion aims to strengthen Headway's presence in the European low-carbon shipping sector, providing enhanced technical support and services. The new office will showcase Headway's methanol fuel supply systems and other green technologies, reinforcing their commitment to sustainable maritime solutions and supporting the global shift towards low-emission shipping practices.

Vopak Partners to Establish Green Methanol Bu Methanol Bunkering in China
Date: June 6th, 2024

Key Points: Vopak has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the vice mayor of Tianjin to develop a green methanol bunkering operation in Northern China's Tianjin port. This initiative aims to repurpose existing infrastructure for new energy projects, positioning Tianjin as a crucial logistics hub for green methanol development. The partnership with Tianjin Port Group underscores Vopak's commitment to supporting sustainable maritime fuels and contributing to the global energy transition.

New Methanol-Ready Fallpipe Vessel Named "Yellowstone"
Date: June 7th, 2024

Key Points: DEME Group's new fallpipe vessel, the 37,000 DWT "Yellowstone," has been officially named in a ceremony held in Zeebrugge, Belgium. The vessel, designed for future conversion to methanol dual-fuel propulsion, features a hybrid power plant with a 1 MWh Li-ion battery. The naming ceremony, attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid, underscores DEME's commitment to innovation and sustainability in marine operations.


Photo credit: The Methanol Institute
Published: 14 June 2024

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Baltic Exchange: Bunker Report (13 June 2024)

Bunker report panellists include Island Oil Limited, Cockett Marine Oil Pte, Monjasa A/S and KPI OceanConnect.





Baltic bunker report 13 June

The following bunker report has been provided by freight market information provider Baltic Exchange for post on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:


All values are in US$/metric ton, all-in (invoice price), delivered on board
Delivery in 7-10 days
ISO 8217:2010
IFO 380 3.5% Sulphur
IFO 380 0.5% Sulphur
DMA 0.1% Sulphur

Rotterdam – Waalhaven – Maasvlakte range
Houston – Houston Harbor
Singapore – Anchorage, under SBA Scheme
Fujairah – Offshore Anchorage Area

Submitted weekly at Close of Business UK time, on Tuesday & Thursdays

Island Oil Limited, Cockett Marine Oil Pte, Monjasa A/S, KPI OceanConnect


Photo credit and source: Baltic Exchange
Published: 14 June 2024

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ENGINE: Americas Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook (13 June 2024)

Availability tight in NOLA; low bunker demand in GOLA; bad weather disrupts Freeport bunkering.






The following article regarding bunker fuel availability in the Americas region has been provided by online marine fuel procurement platform ENGINE for post on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:

  • Availability tight in NOLA
  • Low bunker demand in GOLA
  • Bad weather disrupts Freeport bunkering

North America

Bunker demand has remained good in Houston and several other locations along the US Gulf Coast this week. Availability of all fuel grades has been normal for prompt supply in Houston. Several suppliers in Houston have ample VLSFO and LSMGO availability and are actively offering stems for prompt deliveries. VLSFO stems for non-prompt dates were being fixed at as low as $567/mt on Thursday.

Prompt VLSFO and LSMGO supply is available in Bolivar Roads and Beaumont. However, bunker deliveries in these locations remain subject to weather conditions and the availability of anchorage spaces, a source says.

Availability has tightened in the New Orleans Outer Anchorage’s (NOLA) this week. One supplier requires 7–10 days to deliver VLSFO and LSMGO stems in NOLA.

Bunkering was proceeding normally in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA) on Thursday amid good weather conditions. The weather is forecast to remain calm over the weekend and into next week. Overall, demand has been very low this week at the anchorage.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on the West Coast have experienced a notable surge in demand this week. One contributing factor could be the competitive bunker prices in the twin ports compared to prices seen in other West Coast ports like Seattle and Vancouver.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability has been better than normal in Los Angeles and Long Beach. One supplier can supply both grades with a lead time of just four days, which is much shorter than the typical 7-9 days observed in these ports.

Prompt VLSFO and LSMGO are available in the East Coast port of New York.

Baltimore’s main shipping channel has been restored to its full depth and width after the removal of debris from the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. Bunker demand has been steady there, and most suppliers are able to offer stems with a lead time of 5-7 days.

Caribbean and Latin America

Bunker fuel availability has been normal in the Panamanian ports of Balboa and Cristobal. At least four suppliers can offer all bunker grades in Balboa, with lead times of up to seven days.

Demand has surged for Balboa compared to Cristobal for prompt dates.

Bunker operations were suspended in the Bahamas’ Freeport on Thursday due to strong wind gusts of up to 27 knots. The weather is expected to remain rough until Saturday, which could cause prolonged delays and disruptions.

Operations were also suspended in Argentina's Zona Comun anchorage on Thursday due to adverse weather conditions. The area was experiencing strong wind gusts of up to 30 knots, making barge deliveries difficult there.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO remains tight in Zona Commune for prompt dates. One supplier can offer VLSFO stems at the anchorage only for deliveries after 20 June, a source says.

In Brazil, bunker demand has been low across most ports, including Santos and Rio de Janeiro. Several suppliers are able to offer stems with a lead time of 5-7 days.

By Debarati Bhattacharjee


Photo credit and source: ENGINE
Published: 14 June, 2024

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