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Singapore Data: Bunker Sales Up 5% To 49.83 Mil Mt In 2020, Dec Down 3.9% On Year

Total bunker sales in Singapore for 2020 rose 5% year on year to 49.83 million mt, preliminary data released on Jan. 13 by Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority showed.

This represents the second-highest volume of sales that the world’s largest bunkering destination has notched up since 2017, when sales posted a record 50.64 million mt.

The strong showing is especially noteworthy considering industry watchers estimate global demand for marine fuels to have dropped by around 10% in 2020 as the global economy slackened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the global marine fuels market transitioned from high sulfur fuel oil to bunker fuel with a maximum sulfur limit of 0.5% to adhere with the IMO 2020 mandate, sales at the port of the erstwhile mainstay high sulfur bunker fuel — which includes 180 CST, 380 CST and 500 CST bunker fuel — fell 71.63% year on year to 10.6 million mt in 2020.

The jump in overall sales to within touching distance of 50 million mt in 2020 is attributed to a surge in sales of IMO-compliant low sulfur marine fuel, which finished the year at 34.08 million mt, a more than sixfold rise from the 5.5 million mt in 2019.

Sales of high sulfur bunker fuel, which accounted for 78.7% of the total bunker sales in Singapore for 2019, dropped to 21.26% in 2020, while the share of low sulfur bunker fuel rose to 68.4% of the total, as compared with nothing the previous year.

State-of-the-art infrastructure and vast storage capacities, both inland and offshore, have held the port in good stead, market sources have said.

As the cost economics to carry on maintaining storage and delivery infrastructure to meet a small volume of HSFO demand became increasingly unfeasible, relatively smaller regional bunkering hubs have shifted away from HSFO to focus on low sulfur marine fuel, which has benefited Singapore.

Even as the number of vessels that called at Singapore for bunkering fell by 324, or 0.8%, year on year to 40,585 in 2020, the increase in fuel sales signifies that these vessels have been lifting a relatively high volume as compared with the previous year.

Singapore’s December sales volume at 4.3 million mt was up 0.6% on the month, while the figure was also down 3.9% compared with the previous year.
Source: Platts

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