The demand for LNG, bio and low-sulphur bunkers has increased enormously in Rotterdam over the past year. Total sales in this largest European bunker port fell from 9.5 million m3 to 9 million m3.
In the last quarter of 2019, sales of low-sulphur bunker oil with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% – the so-called VLSFO, very low sulphur fuel oil – increased heavily. It is obvious this is a result of the implementation of new IMO 2020 fuel regulations. In December, 62% of the fuel oil sold was VLSFO. Over the entire last quarter, 48% of the fuel oil sold was VLSFO.
As of 1 January 2020, the globally permitted sulphur content in marine fuel has been reduced from 3.5% to 0.5%. In the Netherlands and the other countries along the North Sea, the maximum sulphur content is even lower with 0.1% since 2015. 13 percent of this so-called Ultra Low Sulphur Fuel Oil was sold in the last quarter. The largest amount of bunkers sold in Rotterdam are for intercontinental transport.
Increase in LNG and biofuel bunkers
In addition to the sales of VLSFO, the increase in sales of LNG (liquefied natural gas) bunkers also stood out. Sales more than tripled from 9,483 tonnes to 31,944 tonnes. For the first time, the sale of biofuel bunkers – bunker fuel to which a certain percentage of biofuel has been added – is also clearly visible in the figures. Throughout 2019, 2% of sales of fuel oil and 0.5% of distillates (MGO – gas oil – and MDO – diesel oil) concern biofuel bunkers. Sales of biofuel bunkers increased in the fourth quarter in particular. The admixture percentages of these bunkers vary between 5 and 50%. Most common is 20-30%.