Some Middle Eastern exporters are bypassing Fujairah, the region’s main bunkering hub, to avoid excessive port delays. Cargo ships departing Kuwait, Basrah, and Khor al Zubair are finding shorter lead times and competitive bunker fuel prices in Oman and Iraq.
The Port of Fujairah is located on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates and is the only multi-purpose port in the country. It is strategically just before ships enter the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s crude oil passes. The port has a deep water channel and can accommodate the largest tankers and bulk carriers. The Port of Fujairah is also a major bunkering hub for ships operating in the Persian Gulf region. Fujairah has evolved significantly in recent years with tank farms, bunkering facilities, and modest refineries. but the port’s popularity comes at a cost; congestion.
“Wait times to bunker in Fujairah are as much as six to seven days compared with normal four to five days,” said Dubai-based trader.
The delays are causing cargo ships and tankers to move away from Kuwait. They are going to Iraq rather than Fujairah because of shorter lead times and competitive pricing.
“We have good availability for gasoil, high sulfur grades with moderate availability for low sulfur fuel. Our barging rate is good up to 300 mts/hr,” an Iraqi bunker trader told S&P.
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