SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - PetroChina's Singapore bunkering unit moved up a notch to be the top marine fuel supplier in the world's biggest ship refuelling hub in 2019, official data showed, as the overall number of suppliers fell for a sixth year in a row.
Singapore-based Sentek Marine & Trading climbed one spot to second, behind PetroChina International Singapore, while Singapore's Ocean Bunkering Services, fell two places to third.
Tough market conditions and a crackdown by the authorities on industry malpractice cut the number of licensed bunker suppliers to 45 from 51 a year earlier, the latest data from the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore showed.
The biggest leaps up the MPA's ranking included Plamstone Tankers & Trading, which rose to 13th place from 34th place a year ago, while Glencore Singapore jumped 14 places to to 7th spot.
Hong Lam Marine marked the biggest drop, falling to 37th place in 2019 from 17th in 2018.
Brightoil Petroleum fell 16 places to 44th, while Exxonmobil Asia Pacific fell 15 spots to 22nd.
Singapore's overall bunkering sales volumes in 2019 fell 5 per cent, down for a second year in the face of increased regional competition. The city state accounts about 20 per cent of global bunkering sales.
However, most suppliers saw profit margins improve in late 2019, thanks to new global rules that forced shipping companies to switch to new and cleaner fuels, trade sources said.
International Maritime Organisation rules have capped the sulphur content of ship fuel at 0.5 per cent from the start of 2020 unless vessels are equipped with exhaust-cleaning systems known as scrubbers.
Traders said the continued decline in the number of bunker suppliers has had a limited impact on the industry as the top 20 suppliers account for the vast majority of delivered volumes.