Bonded bunker sales at China's largest bunkering port of Zhoushan totalled 4.73mn t in 2020, up by 620,000t or around 15pc from a year earlier, thanks to rising imports of iron ore and other bulk commodities as well as increased efficiencies, according to data from major bunker suppliers at the port.
December sales at Zhoushan in the eastern province of Zhejiang rose by 120,000t or 26pc from a month earlier to 583,000t. Demand was driven by a rise in sales of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), as bunker suppliers cleared storage space for new supplies from domestic refineries. The Chinese government awarded a 5mn t VLSFO export quota for 2021 to refiners Sinopec, CNPC, CNOOC, Sinochem and Zhejiang Petroleum and Chemical (ZPC).
China's total iron ore imports rose by 6.5pc to 1.13bn t in 2020. Zhoushan is one of the three biggest iron ore arrival ports in China, together with Caofeidian and Jingtang. Bulk carriers and other vessels tend to bunker in either Singapore or Zhoushan, depending on prices, timing, availability and other factors.
Zhoushan's bunker volumes were also boosted by an increase in processing efficiency, after upgrades to its electronic platform for the outer port limit (OPL), where most international bunkering takes place.
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