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MABUX World Bunker Index (consists of a range of prices for 380 HSFO, VLSFO and MGO (Gasoil) in the main world hubs) continued downward trend in the period of Mar.16-20:

380 HSFO 277.26 → 262.82 USD/MT (minus 14.44 USD)

VLSFO 367.00 → 337.00 USD/MT (minus 30.00 USD)

MGO 451.02 → 426.21 USD/MT (minus 24.81 USD)

• The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has extended its precautionary measures against the coronavirus to include restrictions on ships and visitors from Spain, Germany, France and Italy, as well as ending port calls for all cruise vessels. The MPA had already introduced restrictions on ships and visitors from mainland China, Iran, South Korea and parts of northern Italy (the measures now apply to the whole of the country).

• GP Global launches supply operation at Jebel Ali. The new operation, which is supported by two wholly-owned barges, complements the company’s marine fuel offering at the Port of Fujairah. The two barges, each with a capacity of 4,800 metric tonnes (mt) of fuel oil and 1,000 mt of gasoil, will be used to deliver MARPOL and ISO-compliant distillate marine fuel, including high quality marine gasoil (MGO) grades such as DMA and DM,B as well as residual fuels including RMG and RME grades.

• Sinopec refinery has delivered its first cargo of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). The 1,600-tonne cargo was delivered by pipeline to a storage tank at Sinopec Fuel Oil Sales Co. in Guangzhou.

• The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has issued advice on how to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection during bunkering operations. In a statement issued on 16 March, IBIA said: ‘The key issues for any personnel involved in a bunker delivery – barge crew, ship crew, surveyors or agents – are to minimize touching surfaces which may be contaminated. The virus is unlikely to persist on bunker hoses, flanges, valve wheels etc. and in any case, gloves should always be worn in these circumstances.

• Around 30% of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) samples tested by Bureau Veritas VeriFuel in January had a sulphur content of 0.49%-0.50%, indicating that, as anticipated, many fuel suppliers are blending as close as possible to the IMO 2020 sulphur limit. Around 4% of VLSFOs tested by VeriFuel in January were found to be off-spec and four out of every 100 samples had a sulphur content of between 0.51-0.53%. In addition to sulphur, total sediment potential (TSP) and the presence of water were the principal reasons for fuels to be off-spec.

• Alfa Laval is looking to achieve cost savings of more than SEK 1 billion through measures such as cutting employee working hours, ‘aggressively’ reducing travel costs, and shaving 10% off group management salaries. Announcing its cost reduction programme on March 17, Alfa Laval said that Q1 2020 invoicing and order intake had been in line with expectations, but the depressed outlook for the coming quarters meant that action must be taken.

• Commodity trader Glencore is chartering Euronav’s ultra large crude carrier (ULCC) Europe to provide floating storage for crude oil stocks. Europe is one of two ULCCs owned by Euronav. The company has been using its other ULCC, Oceania, to store IMO 2020 compliant low sulphur fuel (LSFO).

• While acknowledging that the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic is very difficult to quantify, BIMCO says it has updated its 2020 forecast ‘to make some of this massive uncertainty tangible'. The shipowners’ association has issued the reassessment of the outlook for the main shipping sectors: tanker shipping, dry bulk shipping and container shipping.

• The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced that, effective from 17 April , the maximum authorised draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks will be 13.56 metres (44.5 feet) tropical fresh water (TFW). In a statement posted on its website on Wednesday (18 March), the ACP said: ‘Vessels arriving after 17 April with drafts over 13.56 m TFW may be allowed to transit, depending on the actual level of Gatun Lake at the time of transit. Otherwise, they will be required to trim or off-load cargo in order to transit. ‘Draft adjustments will continue to be announced with at least four weeks advanced notice.’

• The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has taken action against five UAE-based companies said to have collectively purchased ‘hundreds of thousands of metric tonnes of petroleum products’ from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in 2019. According to OFAC, at least three of the now-blacklisted companies falsified documents to conceal the Iranian origin of these shipments.

• A.P. Møller-Maersk has put its 2020 EBITDA guidance on hold, ‘pending more clarity on the market development and financial implications’ associated with the spread of the Coronavirus, but the company says it has ‘executed well’ on its strategy to cope with higher fuel bills resulting from IMO 2020.

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