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ENGINE: Europe & Africa Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Friday, 24 May 2024 | 00:00

· Availability is normal in the ARA
· Subdued bunker demand off Malta
· VLSFO runs dry in Nacala and Maputo

Northwest Europe

Bunker fuel availability is normal in Rotterdam and in the wider ARA hub. Lead times of 3-5 days are recommended to ensure full coverage from suppliers, a trader said. These lead times are roughly unchanged from the previous week.

The ARA’s independently held fuel oil stocks have averaged 4% higher so far this month than across

April, according to Insights Global data. Higher imports have helped boost fuel oil stocks in the ARA.

The region has imported 340,000 b/d of fuel oil so far this month, up from 252,000 b/d of fuel oil imported in April, according to data from cargo tracker Vortexa.

Nigeria has emerged as the ARA’s biggest fuel oil import source so far this month, accounting for 13% of the region’s total imports. Algeria and Lithuania have ranked second, each accounting for 12% of the total imports. Other import sources have been the UK (11%) and Denmark (10%).

The ARA hub’s independent gasoil inventories — which include diesel and heating oil — have increased by 8% so far this month.

The port staff and dockers’ unions in the French ports of Saint-Nazaire and Montoir have called for industrial strike action for periods this week and the next, according to GAC Hot Port News. These strikes are planned for this Thursday, as well as next Monday and Wednesday. Each strike is expected to last four hours daily and could impact bunkering in these ports.

Bunker fuel availability is normal in Germany’s port of Hamburg. Prompt delivery dates are available for all bunker grades in the port, with lead times of 3-5 days advised by a trader.
Off Skaw, very prompt supply can be tight, while supply is relatively better for non-prompt delivery dates. A trader recommends lead times of 7-10 days for all grades. Adverse weather is forecast off Skaw on Wednesday and Thursday, which may complicate bunkering in the area.


Availability is normal across all grades in Gibraltar. Most suppliers can offer prompt delivery dates for all grades in the port, with short lead times of 2-4 days generally recommended for all grades in the port, according to a trader. Seven vessels were waiting for bunkers in Gibraltar on Wednesday, down from eight on Tuesday, a source said.

The weather forecast predicts calm conditions for the remainder of the week, which could potentially ease congestion in Gibraltar.

Bunker fuel availability is normal in the Canary Islands’ port of Las Palmas. Lead times have stayed consistent since last week, with traders advising 4-6 days for all grades. But weather disruptions are expected in the area starting next Tuesday, which may hamper bunkering.

Bunker demand has been very quiet in other Mediterranean ports like Piraeus, Malta Offshore and Istanbul, a trader said, adding that demand has been very limited in these ports.

Availability is good in the Greek port of Piraeus, according to a trader. Lead times of 3-4 days are recommended for all bunker grades in the port. Adverse weather is forecast to hit the port on Thursday, which may impact bunkering.

Off Malta, bunkering was proceeding smoothly on Wednesday amid normal weather conditions.

Bunker fuel availability is good there, a trader told ENGINE. Lead times of 3-4 days are advised for all grades.

Bunker fuel availability is good in Istanbul, a trader said, with lead times of 3-4 days advised for all grades. Calm weather is forecast for the rest of the week, allowing bunkering to take place normally.


Availability is normal in the South African ports of Richards Bay and Durban for VLSFO. Lead times of 7-10 days are recommended by traders for optimal coverage in both ports. The earliest delivery date for VLSFO in Durban with one supplier is 1 June a source said.

LSMGO availability is normal in Durban. A trader advises similar lead times of 7-10 days for the grade in the port. Strong wind gusts of up to 25 knots are forecast in Durban on Sunday, which could hamper bunkering. Also, rough weather may impact bunkering in Richards Bay.

Prompt VLSFO supply is dry in Mozambique’s port of Nacala amid high demand for the bunker grade, a source said. HSFO supply has also tightened in the port. On the other side, LSMGO supply is relatively better compared to HSFO and VLSFO. Demand for LSMGO has been largely steady.

Like Nacala, high VLSFO demand has caused supply shortages for prompt supply in Maputo. LSMGO demand has been stable in the port, with good supply available, a source told ENGINE.
Source: By Manjula Nair, ENGINE

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