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ASIA FUEL OIL-SPREADS FLIP TO CONTANGO AS AMPLE SUPPLIES OVERCOME BULLISH IMPETUS

The near-dated market structure of 380-cst fuel oil slipped into contango on Wednesday, erasing steady gains made in the previous week, as ample prompt supplies of the fuel weighed on sentiment despite slowing fuel oil flows into Asia.

Total fuel oil flows into East Asia for April to fall below the Q1 average of 7.1-7.2 million tons, with 6.3-6.4 million tons notionally assessed so far. Arrivals for May are expected to be similarly thin, with less than 3 million tons of Western arrivals seen so far, but the downside is mitigated by heavy inflows from the Middle East, with over 1.8 million tons already notionally assessed.

SAUDI ARAMCO TO SUPPLY FULL CRUDE CONTRACT VOLUMES TO ASIA, OFFERS ADDITIONAL LIGHT OIL

The world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has stepped up sales of light oil to Asia by offering buyers more cargoes on top of the full contract volumes it will provide for May.

The offers will add to a glut of light oil supplies in Asia, increasing competition with fellow Gulf producer Abu Dhabi National Oil Co and Russia, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Saudi Aramco plans to supply full volumes of crude to least six buyers in Asia in May, despite cutting production to comply with a deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers. OPEC and some non-OPEC producers pledged to cut output in the first half of 2017 to support oil prices.

STRONGER BALTIC INDEX, CAPTIVE CARGO INCREASE ESSAR SHIPPING NUMBERS

Essar Shipping Ltd (ESL) logged 22 percent growth in its cargo handling in FY17 helped mainly by its captive cargo whose share rose to 80 percent.

The company that runs a fleet of 14 vessels, saw its capacity utilization rising from 80 percent to 94 per cent in last fiscal. A spike in the Baltic Dry Index, a key indicator for freight rates, also boosted Essar Shipping’s performance. Between February 2016 and March 2017, the Index shot up four times from a low of 290 to 1300.

In FY17, ESL carried dry bulk cargo of almost 11.5 million ton, as against 9.4 million ton in the previous financial year. More than 80 percent of its fleet carries dry bulk cargo, which includes products like iron ore, coal, bauxite and limestone.

 

PORT OF BRISBANE CONTAINER VOLUME UP

Container throughput at the Port of Brisbane saw a solid increase in February handling 91,576 TEU, a 2 percent increase over the same month last year when volume totaled 89,777 TEU.

However, February’s throughput was a decrease of more than 17 percent over the previous month’s throughput of 111,187 TEU. Looking at the rolling 12 months, from March 2016 to February 2017, Brisbane saw a throughput of 1.19 million TEU, an increase of 3.5 percent (or 40,498 TEU) over the same period the previous year. In February 2017, 42,732 TEU was imported (46.6 per cent of total throughput), 47,522 TEU (51.9 percent) was exported and 1,322 TEU was transshipped. The largest cargo category imported through Brisbane was reported as “import other”, with 18,646 TEU for the month.

APM TERMINAL LIQUID CARGO BUSINESS SEES 133PC GROWTH

The liquid cargo business of APM Terminal Pipavav, a part of APM Terminals Global Terminal Network, is seeing huge growth in sync with the change in export and import demand from Indian companies.

Liquid cargo which includes LPG and non-LPG consignments [POL/chemicals], has registered a sharp increase in volume over the past two years while the volume of bulk and container segments has declined. The new focus is reflected in the company’s performance over the past two years. After handling 4.64 million tons for the 15-month period ended March 31, 2015, bulk handling volume has declined to 2.47 million tons in 2015-16. Container business volume has plunged from 980,689 TEUs during the 15-month period ended March 31, 2015, to 694,614 TEUs in 2015-16.

BUNKER SURVEYOR FIRMS IN SINGAPORE HAS REMAINED LARGELY STEADY

The number of bunker surveyor companies in Singapore has remained largely steady since the introduction of mass flow meters in January, defying predictions the move would result in a sharp contraction.

The total number of licensed bunker surveyor companies stands at 49 in April, compared with 51 in January. The total also includes a new entrant; Fujairah-based Viking Marine Services expanded to Singapore in February.

An incident in March, in which the MPA temporarily suspended Panoil Petroleum’s five bunker tankers over piping irregularities, highlighted the importance of surveyors. System integrity is key and is one of the crucial factors because there is no limit to how much can be lost.

SHANGHAI PORT BOX THROUGHPUT SOARS 14PC

China’s Shanghai port handled a total of 3.43 million TEU in March, a 14.3 percent increase compared to the year-ago period.

Last month’s throughput surged 29.6 per cent compared to February’s volume of 2.65 million TEU. For the first quarter of 2017, the world’s busiest container port Shanghai recorded a total throughput of 9.39 million TEU, a climb of 9.9 percent compared to 8.35 million TEU registered in the same period of 2016.

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