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by Muyu Xu and Emily Chow (Reuters) – China’s exports of clean marine fuel in the first two months of 2021 nearly doubled from the same period last year, when the coronavirus outbreak had disrupted port operations and sharply reduced demand, customs data showed on Saturday.
The Chinese government last year started granting tax incentives to prompt production and exports of very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% to comply with emission rules imposed by the International Maritime Organization.
Exports of VLSFO reached 3.02 million tonnes in January and February, compared to 1.56 million tonnes for the same period in 2020, according to data issued by the General Administration of Customs. As countries around the globe reopened for trade and companies rushed to ramp up operations ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February, Chinese ports saw cargo handling increase by 12.8% over January-February from a year ago, data tracked by China’s Harbour Association showed. Customs data also revealed that fuel oil imports into bonded storage, which include both high-sulphur and low-sulphur materials, were 1.74 million tonnes in the first two months, down from 2.72 million tonnes in the corresponding period last year.
Chinese refineries have expanded VLSFO production capacity in response to Beijing’s ambitions to create its own regional marine fuel hub. China issued its first 2021 batch of clean marine fuel export quotas to five companies, totalling 5 million tonnes.
(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Emily Chow; Editing by Kim Coghill and William Mallard)
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