Port of Rotterdam: Greater Use of ‘Modern’ Boxships Prompts Decline in Bunker Volumes

containershipMaasvlakte. Image Courtesy: Port of Rotterdam/Kees Torn

In 2018, the Port of Rotterdam saw a decline in bunker volumes which is said to be “a consequence of the increased scale and use of modern vessels in container shipping.”

As informed, the sale of bunker oil – fuel for shipping – in the Rotterdam bunker port decreased from 9.9 million cbm to 9.5 million cbm. Supplies to containerships account for some 70 percent of the total Rotterdam bunker market.

According to the port authority, the decrease can almost entirely be ascribed to the decline in sales of heavy fuel oil from 8.3 million cbm to 7.9 million cbm.

The throughput of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as bunker fuel increased considerably from 1,500 to 9,500 tons.

With Titan LNG, Shell and Anthony Veder already registered as LNG bunker specialists in the Rotterdam port, the port authority expects to have ten suppliers within five years and a considerable increase in LNG bunkering.

Last year, the port authority started a trial with bunker specialists VT Group, Unibarge, Titan LNG, FTS Hoftrans and Transnational Blenders for digital bunker registration via a specially-developed application. The Timetobunker App is now live and available to other bunker suppliers.

Bunker specialists in the Port of Rotterdam are obliged to report to the port authority prior to commencing each bunkering operation. Until now, this took place via VHF. As some 20,000 bunkering operations take place each year, online registration enables the majority of the processes to be automated and efficient. The application also allows the report to be submitted to both the port authority and customs at the same time.

From 2015, ships in Rotterdam may sail only with fuels with max. 0.1% sulphur as the port is in a so-called Emission Control Area (ECA). From January 2020, new rules will apply to permitted sulphur levels in fuel for shipping. The Port of Rotterdam said it welcomes the new regulation.

The port authority added that the oil product refineries and storage terminals in Rotterdam are preparing themselves for the delivery and storage of so-called very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO ), which contains the required 0.5% sulphur. During the past week, the market signaled the delivery of the first VLSFO bunkers in Rotterdam, according to the port authority.

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