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Sources: China total bunker demand up 20-30% on year, Zhoushan continues to be top bunkering port

18 Sep 2020

The bonded bunker sales volume in China has increased over the past eight months when compared with the same period in 2019 despite the Covid-19 pandemic and volatile international situation, learned Manifold Times.

Insiders with knowledge of the matter revealed most major physical bunker suppliers at Chinese ports experiencing steady sales from January to August, with bunker sales increasing between 20-30% per month when compared to monthly sales in 2019.

Some bunker suppliers at various ports have even achieved their sales target for the year, before August. The trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down and suppliers are expecting a boom at the end of September due to approaching National holidays (Mid-Autumn festival and Chinese National Day) taking place in early October.

Zhoushan port

In Zhoushan, the most important bunker supply port on China’s east coast, the total bunker quantity sold was about 2.8 million metric tonnes from January until August, 13.4% higher than the comparative eight-month period in 2019.

Based on the following chart, with the exception of June where the bunkers sold was lower than in 2019, sales in the remaining seven months showed a steady increase with August being the peak.

Tianjin port

Other ports in China also reported a boom in their bunker sales. “About 90,000 metric tonnes was sold in August alone,” a local major supplier in Tianjin revealed.

Other Tianjin-based traders also shared that in the last week of August, nearly 55,000 metric tonnes of bonded bunker fuel have been sold for deliveries to approximately 70 vessels arriving in early September 2020.

Xiamen port

A local supplier in Xiamen also shared that sales in 2020 is significantly better than last year. At least 20 – 30 deals have been made per day, the highest level of sales ever recorded, which also often caused deliveries from bunker barges at Xiamen port to be tight.

Factors influencing the increase

The improved bunker sales can be attributed to bunker operation restrictions in Hong Kong, and the marine fuel tax rebate introduced by the Chinese government starting 1 February – which made China’s bunker fuel prices competitive with Singapore.

Overall, the bunkering sectors in neighbouring countries of China have also been affected by Covid-19 and this have resulted in shipowners opting to purchase their fuel in China instead.

An increased post-pandemic activity in China, driven by domestic economic recovery in the food, coal, steel, major bulk imports (items which are transported by containers, tankers and bulkers) have further contributed to the boom in bunker demand at Chinese ports.

Related: Hong Kong: Bunker demand shift to nearby ports after tightening of COVID-19 measures
Related: Argus Media: China to apply bunker fuel tax rebates from 1 February 2020

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 18 September, 2020

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