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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

HSFO380 has become more readily available in ARA, while supply remains tight in Las Palmas.

Loading delays tightened HSFO380 supply towards the end of last week in ARA. Lead times for the high sulphur grade increased to 4-5 days at the end of last week, up from the three days required in recent weeks. But the delays have passed to improve availability.

There is generally good availability of bunker fuels oils in ARA, with independent inventories adding volumes for three weeks and reaching nine-month highs last week. VLSFO and LSMGO stems are readily available with most suppliers, while certain suppliers require longer lead times.

A national one-day strike in Belgium on 29 March could prevent barge loadings and port calls in Antwerp and other Belgian ports. Belgium’s two biggest trade unions have called the strike with demands higher minimum wages for workers in the country. The unions have branches across Belgium, including the bunker ports of Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Ghent and Ostend.

Availability of HSFO380 continues to be tight in Las Palmas as a supplier awaits replenishment, which is expected next month. Lead times are around six days for HSFO380 stems still. VLSFO and LSMGO can generally be procured at shorter notice.

Gibraltar Strait ports have good availability of all three grades, and lead times of around 3-4 days for HSFO380 needed.

Strong eastern winds are forecast in Gibraltar Strait ports from Saturday until Tuesday next week, which could disrupt bunkering if it leads to heavy swell. Las Palms is forecast with swell in the northwest direction and waves of more than 1.5 metres from Saturday. This could hamper operations at outer anchorage and push more vessels into Las Palmas’ inner anchorage, which has led to vessel congestion in the past.

Bad weather has disrupted bunkering off Malta in the past week. Strong northwest winds and heavy swell limited bunkering until yesterday, but the weather has now calmed is forecast to remain calm for the coming week.

A new supplier will enter the Maltese bunker market from this weekend. The supplier will offer VLSFO and LSMGO by barge off Malta.
HSFO180 remains tight in Durban and other South African ports. Prompt deliveries of VLSFO and LSMGO are possible.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)

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