January 13, 2018 / 6:08 AM / a year ago

REFILE-Singapore smashes bunker sales volumes in 2017, third straight record year

(Corrects first paragraph to note revamp of market led to stiff competition)

SINGAPORE, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Singapore posted record sales volumes of marine fuels for the third straight year in 2017, even as the city state revamped the market last year leading to stiff competition and margin erosion.

Singapore last year sold an all-time high 50.6 million tonnes of marine fuels, a 4.2 percent increase over the 48.6 million tonnes sold in 2016, the latest official data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) showed.

Singapore’s marine fuels market has faced increased competition for market share and a squeeze on margins since the city-state at the start of 2017 became the world’s first port to adopt mass flow meters to streamline operations and minimise inaccuracies in delivered quantities of marine fuels.

The use of the meters on bunkering barges has also led to a crackdown on short deliveries to customers, which has seen three of the top 10 MPA-licensed bunker fuel suppliers lose their licenses in 2017.

“This year will still be tough for bunker companies (and) we may see a few exit this market,” said a Singapore-based bunker fuel trader who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Some bunkering firms however are seeking fresh opportunities.

Ocean Bunkering Services Pte Ltd, the bunkering arm of Singapore oil trader and shipper Hin Leong Group, said in December it will add five bunker barges to its fleet as part of plans to expand in Singapore following the expulsion of top suppliers earlier in the year.

Sentek Marine & Trading in 2017 was Singapore’s top bunker fuel supplier by volume, up from second in the year before, while Petrochina International climbed to second position from twelfth, MPA data showed. (Reporting by Roslan Khasawneh; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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