Zhoushan in the east of China has set out to overhaul Singapore as the world’s top bunkering hub in the post sulphur cap era, according to port officials interviewed by Reuters.
The archipelago off Ningbo is set to have access to low sulphur content fuel earlier and in greater quantities than most other ports in the world thanks to state-run refiner Sinopec, which moved its global bunker fuel center to Zhoushan from Beijing in May and is preparing to pump IMO-compliant fuel from 2019 in line with China’s sulphur regulations that kick in one year earlier than IMO’s global sulphur cap.
Zhoushan was approved as a free trade zone in early 2017, and was the first Chinese city allowed to grant marine fuel licenses. In October this year, it announced a new import regulation on marine blending fuels, a move to serve a broader range of shipowner needs.
Zhoushan has also asked the Ministry of Finance for a waiver on a consumption tax on bunker sales, and a rebate on value-added taxes for locally produced marine fuels.
Nevertheless, there remains a massive gulf between Zhoushan and Singapore in terms of bunker sales at present. Last year the Chinese port sold 3.6m tonnes of bunker fuel, a fraction of the record 50.6m tonnes sold by Singapore, the world’s top bunkering hub.