• Readily available supply in the ARA
• Gibraltar Strait congestion grows amid weather suspensions
• Availability tight in Las Palmas and South African ports
ARA ports continue to have readily available supplies of all fuel grades. Steady inflows from Russia into the ARA kept independently held fuel oil stock levels unchanged in the first week of the year, and on par with the average for 2021, according to Insights Global.
ARA’s gasoil inventories were gradually drawn down from last summer and hit seven-year lows in mid-December, but have since come off those lows and are growing again.
All inbound vessel traffic and anchorage bunkering was suspended in Gibraltar on Wednesday afternoon after weather conditions worsened throughout the day. Nine vessels that were due to be bunkered have been delayed, port agent MH Bland says.
Algeciras and Ceuta are also grappling with adverse weather and have seen delays mount. Conditions are forecast to worsen on Thursday, before calming from Friday evening.
Several suppliers in Las Palmas have seen tightening availability for HSFO380 and rising price premiums against Gibraltar. VLSFO and LSMGO grades have also tightened for prompt dates in the Canary Islands port.
VLSFO remains tight in Durban and Richards Bay and is only available from dates towards the end of the month. LSMGO can be sourced at shorter notice.
Heavy swells have kept bunkering suspended off Malta in the first part of this week. Calmer conditions could allow bunkering to resume on Friday.
Port Elizabeth has had rough weather going into last weekend, disrupting bunker operations at the adjacent Algoa Bay anchorage. This has allowed suppliers to clear backlogs, shipping agent Sturrock Grindrod says.
Another bout of bad weather is forecast to hit Algoa Bay from Friday to Saturday. Nine bulk carriers and tankers that are due to arrive at the anchorage over these days could be delayed if the weather triggers another suspension.