Bunkering in the port of Zhoushan
Zhoushan is a large bunker port on China’s east coast. It merged with Ningbo port and is now controlled by the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Authority.
Hikes in VLSFO export quotas combined with tax rebates on bunkers have incentivised Chinese refineries to produce more VLSFO in recent years. In February 2020, the Chinese government reversed the 13% value-added tax on bunkers sold to international ships in Chinese ports, opening the door for the country to develop a home-grown bunkering hub and with local production.
Since then, Zhoushan has emerged as a major Chinese bunkering hub and provided shipowners with an alternative location to bunker. This has reduced some of the reliance on Singapore, a much more established bunkering hub in the region.
Bunkering companies in Zhoushan have often been pricing the VLSFO at parity and sometimes at discount levels to Singapore, Hong Kong and Fujairah.
Zhoushan has five anchorage locations suitable for bunkering: Xiazhimen, Tiaozhoumen, Xiushandong, Mazhi and Qushan. Bunker operations at any of these anchorages are prone to intermittent disruptions from strong winds and swells during the winter months.
Qushan is an external deepwater anchorage with an average water depth of 26 metres that has allowed for bunkering of very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and other large vessels since April 2022. It is also the only anchorage that can accommodate laden LPG carriers. There is no tonnage tax or pilotage fees at either the Qushan or Xiazhimen anchorages.