The Port of Rotterdam has reported a drop in bunkering volumes for fuel oil and marine gasoil (MGO) for the first quarter of 2021, but a surge in both LNG and marine diesel oil (MDO).
Overall fuel oil sales for the latest quarter were pegged at 1,864,820 metric tonnes (mt) – down from 1,903,761 mt sold in the same period of 2020 and 1,992,687 mt in Q4 2020.
Very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) accounted for 1,016, 846 mt, which was up on the 989,956 mt sold in Q1 2020 and 971, 484 mt sold in Q4 2020.
Ultra low sulphur fuel oil (ULSFO) sales in Q1 2021 totalled 206,277 mt – down from the 304,602 mt sold in Q1 2020 but up on the 178,570 mt sold in Q4 2020.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the drop in sales of high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) compared to the final quarter of 2020. The Q1 2021 total of 641,697 mt was up on the 609,203 mt sold in Q1 2020, but down significantly on the 842,632 mt sold in Q4 2020. Given that more scrubber-equipped ships have now entered the market, one might have expected to see HSFO sales increasing or at least holding steady. HSFO prices at Rotterdam are also consistently lower than at the other major bunkering hubs.
Rotterdam’s MGO sales of 250,449 mt in Q1 2021 was a substantial drop on the 344,270 mt sold in Q1 2020, and also down on the 279,439 mt sold in Q4 2020. This was counter-balanced by a big uptick in MDO sales – almost tripling from 62,392 mt in Q1 2020 to 174,938 mt in Q1 2021.
Sales of LNG, meanwhile, are continuing to build as more LNG-powered ships entered the market. The Q1 2021 total of 139,489 cubic metres (cbm) nearly doubled the 70,648 cbm sold in Q4 2020 and was almost four-times greater than the 35,426 cbm sold in Q1 2020.
The Port of Rotterdam also included statistics for 'bio-bunkers' for the first time, recording sales of 49,120 mt and 3,3005 mt for fuel oil and distillates respectively.