Bunkering schedules at Yangtze River ports may remain delayed in Jan: source
Bunkering schedules at Yangtze River ports are expected to remain delayed at least until the Lunar New Year due to the coronavirus pandemic, market sources said Jan. 13.
China will observe the Lunar New Year holidays from Jan. 31 till Feb. 6.
Some Yangtze River ports, such as Nanjing and Jiangyin, have been experiencing a shortage of pilots because of the pandemic since December, industry sources said. As ships’ berthing schedules were delayed, bunker deliveries were also behind original schedules, bunker traders and suppliers said.
“Things are getting worse at this moment. But it will be normalizing around the Spring Festival because economic activities slow down,” said a bunker supplier.
A bunker trader said, “This is not a bunker suppliers’ issue, but a ships’ issue.”
Meanwhile, bunkering operations at Nantong has been prohibited since July last year due to the pandemic, market sources said.
Rugao, one of the Yangtze River ports in Nantong, is currently undergoing a phased reopening for bunkering operations, according to local traders.
“Suppliers are still awaiting a verbal approval from local authorities to permit bunkering at Nantong. Meanwhile, bunker demand at Rugao has seen at least average levels but the resumption is still in nascent phases,” a Nantong-based bunker supplier said, adding that the pandemic restrictions may vary across ports and regions.
The bunker supplier also said that buyers have diverted requirements to Zhoushan as a result, while Nantong-based suppliers are unlikely to benefit from the increase in export bunker fuel quota in 2022 amid the ongoing restrictions.