There are few issues with availability in ports across ARA, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. VLSFO and LSMGO stems can be delivered prompt with most suppliers, and HSFO380 stems with around four days of lead time.
Independent fuel oil stocks in ARA dropped by 2% to 10.81 million bbls last week, according to data from Insights Global. Despite the moderate stockdraw, fuel oil inventories in ARA remain comfortably above the five-year average. Fuel oil exports have waned with less demand from East of Suez ports in March.
ARA’s gasoil inventories grew by 4% to reach a three-week high of 18.38 million bbls, but remain below the five-year average.
There were some bunker delays in Gibraltar and Algeciras on Wednesday. Several suppliers are delayed by up to 4-8 hours in the two ports following strong winds and high swell that have disrupted bunkering at anchorage since Sunday, according to port agency MH Bland. Vessel congestion is minimal, however, with only two vessels queued up to bunker in Gibraltar. Calmer weather is forecast from Thursday.
The Suez Canal blockage has delayed vessel traffic to European ports. Some East Mediterranean ports have seen stems delayed and cancelled, including Limassol in Cyprus.
Ports across Europe prepare for an influx of delayed vessels and cargo as Suez Canal transits pick up again. The big container ports Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg expect heavy congestion.
As of Wednesday morning, 37 vessels have completed the northbound transit through the canal since the stranded Ever Given was refloated and the canal was unblocked on Monday, according to figures from local shipping agency Leth Agencies. Another 150 vessels awaited northbound transits, including 43 container ships and 43 bulk carriers.
Prompt bunker stems are generally available in Mediterranean ports. Suppliers are able to deliver VLSFO and LSMGO with 1-2 days’ notice in Piraeus, Malta and Istanbul.
HSFO380 has been tight in the Canary Islands. One supplier has been out of product since January, and recommended lead times are around two days longer than in the Gibraltar Strait and ARA ports. Availability is expected to improve with resupply next month.
South African ports, and especially Port Elizabeth, have had reduced availability of HSFO180 for months. Nearly half of South Africa’s refinery capacity has been offline since last year, when a fire and an explosion sidelined two refineries on different occasions. South African suppliers have relied on imports of distillates and fuel oil to cover some of the domestic production shortfall, and availability of higher-value VLSFO and LSMGO products has been better than for HSFO180.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)