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COVID-19 could cause bunker demand to fall by double digits in 2020

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has issued an ominous warning to everyone in the shipping industry, warning of a sharp drop in bunker demand in ports around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking at the Platts APPEC 2020 online event, Unni Einemo, director of the IBIA, shared information about fortunes of ports around the world, with most reporting a nosedive in bunker sales for the first half of this year compared to 2019. However, there are exceptions whose sales remained stable, like Singapore. Einemo suggested that Singapore appeared relatively unscathed by the pandemic as a result of her sterling reputation in the maritime industry as a dependable location to bunker, helping her tide over the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. She also elaborated by saying that buyers and consumers have peace of mind when bunkering in Singapore, as they know that the quality and quantity of bunkers in Singapore are reliable. This is in part due to Singapore’s stringent bunker licence scheme, as well as her use of mass flow meters (MFMs). Both of these help to provide assurances to consumers that Singapore is a safe and reliable port to bunker in, aiding Singapore to tide over this unpredictable period. The implementation of a bunker licence scheme and the mandatory use of MFMs will help to remove the discrepancies between the amount of bunkers sold and amount of bunkers delivered. Shipowners are also pleased with the quality of service and the product, as well as the lack of dispute cases for bunker operations in Singapore. Despite Singapore’s relative success, the outlook for many other ports remains grim. Einemo estimated that global demand for bunker fuel will fall from 7%, up to 17% in 2020.   Source: Ship & Bunker

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