TFG Marine targets 20% bunker sales rise through expansion

(Reuters) TFG Marine, majority owned by commodities trader Trafigura, aims to increase its marine fuel sales volume by up to 20% this year through expansion in Africa, the UK and the Mediterranean, a senior company executive said.

The fuel supplier is looking to expand its volumes to 11-12 million tons, up from about 10 million tons in 2022, its head of bunkering Kenneth Dam told Reuters on the sidelines of the Fujairah Bunkering and Fuel Oil Forum (FUJCON) 2023.

It plans to expand operations in several existing and new markets, including South Africa, Malta, the United Kingdom and other locations around the Mediterranean Sea as well as the U.S. and the Caribbean, to meet growing demand, Dam said.

"With bulkers and tankers trading different routes, (this) makes areas such as the Caribbean, Africa, Malta and the UK channel much more interesting because you need further options," he added.

Western sanctions on Russian barrels are changing trade flows with some ships travelling longer distances to deliver cargoes and seeking new ports for refueling.

Top Bunker Hubs

TFG Marine, a joint venture between Trafigura and shipping companies Frontline and Golden Ocean, is the third-largest supplier in Singapore, the world's top bunkering port, data from Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority shows.

It expects to operate eight to nine barges in Singapore this year, delivering 350,000 to 400,000 tons of marine fuel per month.

Despite having a foothold at the world's top bunkering ports Singapore and Rotterdam, the company is treading carefully into the world's third largest hub, Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, due to higher volatility and risks that have emerged from recent trade flow changes.

"The UAE is important for us," Dam said. "It's one of the areas (that is) constantly on our agenda but we are waiting on the right timing and conditions to get (into) it."

Alternative Fuels

TFG Marine plans to venture more into biofuel bunkering in Singapore once global demand scales up, Dam said.

The company has been more active in biofuel bunkering in the Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Antwerp (ARA) region in the last three years, though Dam expects biofuels to eventually take up a sizeable portion of Singapore's bunker market.

"We believe that it can be anything between five and 15% of the current (global) market environment. We're seeing a lot of the container companies doing long-term contracts... so definitely biofuels is on our radar," he added.

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