SINGAPORE: Sales of marine fuels in June in Singapore, Asia’s biggest ship fuelling port, fell 6.1 percent from a year ago to 3.836 million tonnes, the lowest since September, data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) showed on Thursday. The June quantities were 8.2 percent lower than in May when 4.181 million tonnes were sold, the second-lowest volumes for 2017. The number of ships that called at Singapore for refuelling, also called bunkering, fell 3.8 percent month-on-month to 3,378 ships in June. “June (bunker fuel demand) was quite slow and July hasn’t so far been much better either,” said one Singapore-based bunker fuels trader. Industry sources said the disappointing sales figures were reflective of a relatively weaker shipping market, including the dry bulk and container market.
The Harpex Shipping Index , which tracks weekly container shipping rates, in June fell to its lowest since March. The volume of bunker fuel each ship took was at its lowest since December, loading an average 1,140 tonnes each in June, Reuters calculations showed. This compared to a record of 1,230 tonnes per ship in January and an average of 1,150 tonnes per ship in 2016. Since Jan. 1, when Singapore became the world’s first port to mandate the use of MFMs, bunker fuel sales volumes have consistently set record numbers. In January, bunker fuel sales reached an all-time high of 4.462 million tonnes, while February, March and April have each posted record volumes for their respective months. Overall bunker fuel sales in the first six months of the year stood at 24.92 million tonnes, 2.2 percent higher from the 24.38 million tonnes sold during the same time last year. FUEL TYPES Monthly sales of the 380-centistoke (cst) high-sulphur fuel oil fell to 2.79 million tonnes, their lowest since September. Sales of the mainstay fuel were 7 percent lower from the same time last year and 11 percent lower from the previous month.
By contrast, sales volumes of the less costly high-viscosity 500-cst marine fuel rose to their second highest levels this year, climbing to 882,000 tonnes, up 3 percent from last month but 1 percent lower from a year earlier. Sales of the 500-cst fuel reached a record 899,000 tonnes in May 2016. June sales of low-sulphur marine gas oil (LSMGO) fell to a six-month low of 99,000 tonnes, down 3 percent lower from May. Compared to the same time last year, LSMGO sales were up 16 percent. Sales of the lower-viscosity 180-cst fuel collapsed to a record low of just 9,000 tonnes, down 80 percent from last year and 62 percent lower from the previous month.