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Greek shipping fleet hits all-time high mark

Ongoing tax issues and economic woes at home have failed to slow the growth of the Greek-controlled merchant fleet which hit an all-time high last year in terms carry capacity.

The Greek fleet of ships over 1,000gt stood at 4,148 ships of 342m dwt and 199.3m gt mid-March, an increase of 64 vessels, 13m dwt and 6.88m gt, on 12 months ago. The carrying capacity and gross tonnage have bounded along to all-time highs, with the Greek armada now just short of the 4,173 strong fleet in 2008, pre-crisis Latest figures include 200 vessels of 24m dwt and 14.2m gt on order according to a study compiled for the 31st consecutive year by the London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC).

India’s 2018 bunker sales likely to be steady

India’s bunker sales are expected to remain flat this year after falling by over 30 percent year on year in 2017, reflecting the impact of the country’s goods and services tax regime, which continues to hurt the competitiveness of marine fuel suppliers in the country, industry sources quoted as saying last week.

India’s bunker sales stood at around 800,000 mt in 2017, some industry sources said. The GST regime, which is imposed on various commodities with bunker fuel taxed at 18percent, was implemented on July 1, 2017. Suppliers received a slight reprieve after the 18percent GST on bunker fuel was reduced to 5percent in October. However, it has still not helped restore volumes to levels traded in the pre-GST days.

IMO 2020 sulfur cap expected to lead higher freight rates

The International Maritime Organization’s 2020 sulfur cap on fuel oil will result in higher vessel operating costs, which are likely to be passed onto freight rates, according to a Singapore Exchange seminar held in London, last week.

The Baltic Exchange will advise on the time line and plan to assess the resultant impact on Baltic freight indexes at the Singapore Maritime Week 2018, the SGX said in a note Wednesday.

European trader vitol storing gasoline on tankers offshore Singapore

European trader Vitol is storing gasoline on tankers offshore Singapore, Asia’s biggest oil trading center, for the first time since 2016 amid oversupply and weak demand for the fuel, sources quoted as saying last Wednesday. The sources said that Vitol was seen storing gasoline aboard more than one so-called Long-Range (LR) tanker.

The company does not typically comment on its trading operations. At least one of the vessels is the tanker Glory Crescent, a so-called LR-2 tanker, said one of the four sources. The vessel is 105,000 deadweight tonnes and could carry the equivalent of about 800,000 barrels of gasoline. According to data, the Glory Crescent was fixed on Feb. 27 by a charterer that was not revealed for a one- to two-month time charter for storage.

 

India to consider non-opec suppliers to bargain for cheaper prices

India will consider buying more oil from countries outside the OPEC bloc, its biggest supplier, at cheaper prices as the cartel’s production cuts have pushed crude higher.

The country expects Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries, which account for more than 83 percent of India’s imports, to offer a ‘reasonable and affordable price’ on future contracts so that the gains can be passed on to domestic consumers, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at a press conference in New Delhi, last week. The OPEC makes up 40 percent of global oil production and there’s a need to look at the producers of the remaining 60 percent, he further said.

New marine fuel rules may push shipping rates, risk to trade

Back in 2016, after nearly 30 years of asking, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) — the UN body that polices the marine industry — finally succumbed to collective outrage and announced a change to take effect from 2020 leading to an effort to clean up ship pollution.

IMO rules currently allow ships to burn fuel containing up to 4.5percent sulfur — that is 4,500 times more than is allowed in car fuel in the European Union. This high-sulfur fuel — or bunker fuel as it’s known is the dirtiest residual combustible material left over in refineries.

When burned, it releases plumes of black smoke, familiar to anyone in a port area watching a large container or cruise liner leaving a haze over the port area. Unlike most environmental air pollution issues that talk of carbon emissions, the marine industry is still facing issues addressed on land back in the 1950s and 1960s. Pollution from particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), unburned hydrocarbons (UHC), sulfur oxides (SOx), carbon monoxide (CO), as well as carbon dioxide (CO2).

Singapore Q2 ex-wharf 380 cst bunker contracts seen lower

Singapore ex-wharf 380 CST bunker fuel term contracts for the second quarter have been concluded at premiums of around $2-$2.25/mt to the Mean of Platts Singapore 380 CST high sulfur fuel oil assessments, trade sources quoted as saying. This is lower than Q1 premiums of $2.75-$3.25/mt to MOPS 380 CST HSFO assessments, tracking weaker demand in recent weeks.

Some traders said the Q2 offers seen in mid-March were in the range of $2.25-2.50/mt, while more recent offers were lower at $1.75-$2/mt. “There is less incentive for people to fix [term contracts] since the spot [price] is so cheap,” a Singapore bunker fuel trader said. Spot 380 CST ex-wharf bunker differentials to MOPS averaged at plus $2.11/mt in January before falling to an average of plus $1.35/mt in February and $49 cents/mt in March. The cash differential for Singapore 380 CST HSFO averaged at plus 91 cents/mt in January before falling to an average of plus 57 cents/mt in February and minus 27 cents/mt in March.

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