The price differential between shipping’s main two fuels at Europe’s largest bunkering port, Rotterdam, stands at just $34 per ton, one tenth of what the difference was at the start of the year.
The Hi5, as the price differential between low and high sulphur fuel oil is termed in the bunkering industry, had ducked below $50 per ton at Rotterdam for the first time earlier this week before a further narrowing of prices yesterday.
Elsewhere, the Hi5 is narrowing too with the average price differential among the top 20 bunkering ports in the world, as tracked by Ship&Bunker, standing at just $55 per ton, a far cry from the $343 peak difference recorded at the end of the first week of January this year.
The dramatic drop in prices for very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) combined with the rapidly worsening outlook for the world economy in recent weeks has seen many shipowners shelve scrubber retrofit projects.
In terms of gross tons, as of April 3, 14.9% of the global shipping fleet had been fitted with a scrubber, according to data from Clarkson Research Services.