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Singapore will remain world’s top bunkering hub post 2020

Singapore will remain world’s top bunkering hub post 2020

SINGAPORE: Singapore will continue to be the world’s largest ship refueling destination going into 2020 and beyond, Maersk regional trading head Peter Beekhuis said Friday at the S&P Global Platts Asian Refining Summit in Singapore.

“The efficiency, transparency and the infrastructural advantage will hold Singapore in good stead,” Beekhuis said in response to an apparent concern that the city-state may likely lose its dominant position to other bunkering destinations, especially China, within this region, in a low sulfur emissions world.

The International Maritime Organization’s 2020 global sulfur cap rule, hailed as one of the most significant changes for the shipping industry, starts January 1, 2020. It requires shipowners worldwide to burn marine fuel with maximum 0.5% sulfur content, as compared to a maximum of 3.5% currently.

With an expectation that a fair share of marine fuels would originate from the distillate part of the barrel going into 2020, there has been some speculation that countries long middle distillates would be at an advantage to cater to this potential demand.

“Singapore imports about 80% of fuel oil to meet its current bunkering demand. Going into 2020, this may rise to 85% or 90% or perhaps even more, but the country’s status as a trading hub will not change,” Beekhuis said. “Some volume may shift within the region, but not [enough] to displace Singapore’s status as the top bunkering hub,” he added.