Fujairah-delivered 380 CST bunker premium rose to a near 6-week high as some of the suppliers struggled to meet prompt spot demand due to tight barge availability.
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Fujairah-delivered 380 CST bunker premium to the Mean of Platts Arab Gulf 180 CST high sulfur fuel oil assessments rose $2.48/mt day on day to $16.68/mt Monday. The premium was last assessed higher on January 3 at $18.08/mt, S&P Global Platts data showed.
A lack of barge availability meant that most of the suppliers were not able to offer against new spot inquiries, especially for prompt delivery dates, traders said.
"It's not so much a lack of oil as much as it is an operational logjam to deliver," a trader said.
"The earliest I can deliver is [on February] 17. I think some companies may have other things lined up for barges, so fleet has been cut back a bit," a trader said late Monday.
"With bunker volumes down, it makes financial sense for suppliers to look at options for barge employability elsewhere. I'm sure all suppliers will look at options and manage [barge] economics as best as they can ... so that could have an effect on availability," he added.
"Besides bunker delivery barges are now also being employed for fuel oil cargo trading operations including ship-to-ship transfer, moving oil from ship to tank and vice versa," said another trader.
Fujairah-delivered 380 CST bunker premium to the MOPAG 180 CST HSFO assessment has been progressively inching up for the most part so far this year.
It rose from a 6-week low of $7.74/mt on January 10 to be assessed at $16.68/mt Monday. It has averaged $13.18/mt so far this month compared with January's daily average premium of $11.99/mt, Platts data showed.