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China's bunker fuel market seen moving towards use of mass flow meters

Highlights

Bunker fuel traders in China say the use of mass flow meters at local ports is increasing amid growing expectations their usage will become mandatory in the near future.

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"[MFMs] will become increasingly common... government agencies have been encouraging suppliers to adopt and install MFMs for bunkering operations," a Shanghai-based trader said, adding that the use of MFMs was already common in the bunkering of fuel to ships not registered in China.

"MFMs may become mandatory for all bunkering operations in the near future," the source added.

No official data on the use of MFMs in China has yet been made available. However, a major bunker supplier in the Chinese market said Friday that "around half our barges are fitted with mass flow meters." Singapore became the world's first port to make bunker fuel oil delivery using MFMs compulsory on January 1 this year.

"The government has yet to make a decision on the use of MFMs, but there is talk in the market that it will happen eventually," a Chinese trader said.

However, some traders doubted the use of MFMs would become the market norm in the short to medium term.

"There's no such announcement from the government yet, and it would be an assumption to say it would happen soon," another Chinese trader said.

MFMs measure the fuel's flow rate in the pipe, gauging the quantity, mass and density of the bunker fuel passing through, minimizing discrepancies between the volume and quality of what is delivered and what is invoiced.

--Tess Tseng, tess.tseng@spglobal.com
--Edited by Wendy Wells, wendy.wells@spglobal.com