Bunkering in the port of Rotterdam, ARA
The Port of Rotterdam is one of the busiest seaports in Europe. Besides offering a key location for bunkering in the ARA hub, Rotterdam is also a place for transhipments to several other European ports.
ARA refers to the port cluster of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp in northwest Europe. Located near the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the port is managed by the Port of Rotterdam Authority, which is jointly controlled by the Municipality of Rotterdam and the Dutch State.
Availability of all VLSFO, HSFO, ULSFO and LSMGO is generally good in these ports, and stems fixed in the ARA region are often used as indicators for the wider northwest European market.
Rotterdam is considered the leader in this regional market in terms of throughput. The port has dedicated crude oil terminals and an extensive network of pipelines to transport crude to refineries. About half of the imported crude oil is transported to the refineries of BP, ExxonMobil, Shell and Vitol in Rotterdam.
Russia used to be a key source of crude oil, fuel oil and gasoil imports to the ARA. But after the EU’s ban on imports of Russian crude oil in December 2022, and refined Russian oil products in February 2023, ARA buyers started sourcing more of these products from the Middle East, Asia and other European countries instead.
With 9.72 million mt of conventional bunker fuels sold in 2022, Rotterdam kept its place as the world’s second biggest bunker port by sales volume – between Fujairah’s 7.92 million mt and Singapore’s overwhelmingly superior 47.88 million mt.
More vessels have been running trials either pure biofuel bunkers or switched to using biofuel as a drop-in fuel in conventional oil-based bunker fuels in in Rotterdam. The port’s total sales of bunker fuel oils and distillates with biofuel blended into them rose by more than 182% on the year to 791,000 mt in 2022.