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Americas Fuel Availability Outlook

North America

Demand for all grades has mostly dropped across major bunkering ports in the Americas. But Houston has seen a jump in enquiries for all grades this week. While prompt VLSFO and LSMGO availability was reported tight at the beginning of this week, it returned to normal levels in the port as the week progressed. Lead times of 3-4 days are recommended for both grades. One supplier can offer HSFO stems with 4-5 days of lead time.

Prompt supply of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal in Bolivar Roads. Several suppliers can deliver both grades with 2-5 days of lead times. Similarly, the availability of fuel grades in Beaumont has been good this week.

Bunkering was suspended in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA) and off Corpus Christi in the US Gulf Coast on Thursday due to strong gale-force wind gusts of up 47 knots in the region. Calmer weather is forecast from Friday evening, which could allow bunkering to resume.

A moderate to high risk of fog and reduced visibility is forecast around Corpus Christi, Lake Charles, Port Arthur, Galveston and Freeport from Thursday, which could delay vessel traffic around the region and through the Houston Ship Channel until Sunday, Norton Lilly says.

The channel is a key waterway for vessels going in and out of ports in the Houston area, including Galveston, Baytown and Texas City.

Similarly, a high risk of fog and reduced visibility is also forecast at the New Orleans Outer Anchorage (NOLA). A supplier said they can deliver VLSFO and HSFO stems within three days of lead time if the weather permits.

Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is good in the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Several suppliers can deliver both grades with 5-7 days of lead times. However, demand has been extremely low in both ports this week.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is said to be normal in the East Coast port of New York. Securing HSFO in the port can be difficult for prompt dates. One supplier is unable to offer fuel grades for both prompt and non-prompt dates in New York.

Caribbean and Latin America

The ongoing drought in Panama has led to increased transit delays through the channel, impacting the demand for bunkers in the region. As a result, many shipowners are opting to lift bunkers at alternative ports in the Caribbean region due to the delays in the Panama Canal.

Despite the slowdown in vessel traffic, some suppliers are offering stems with lead times of 5-7 days in the Panamanian ports of Balboa and Cristobal.

VLSFO and LSMGO availability is good for prompt dates off Trinidad and in Jamaica’s Kingston.

Bunker operations have been running smoothly in Argentina’s Zona Comun anchorage so far this week. Availability of VLSFO and LSMGO is normal in Zona Comun. Overall, bunker demand has been muted at the anchorage this week.

Strong winds of up to 31 knots are forecast to hit the region on Friday, which could disrupt bunkering at the anchorage.

Prompt VLSFO and LSMGO availability is tight in Brazil’s biggest port – Santos. Lead times can stretch out to the second week of December, a trader says. Bunker fuel availability appears to be normal in other Brazilian ports like Rio Grande, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.
Source: ENGINE, https://engine.online/news/availability/americas-fuel-availability-outlook-30-nov-2023-54a6

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