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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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Monjasa sees Panama volumes rise, hails improved sourcing and quality focus

Bunker firm targets increased flexibility for customers as waiting time at anchorage is gradually reduced.

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Updated on 07 Jul 2017 12:48 GMT

Marine fuels company Monjasa says its bunker supply volumes have increased in the Panama Canal since the launch of the new locks a year ago.

Monjasa has been active in the Panama Canal since 2011 and established a physical presence for operations and bunker trading in Panama City in 2015.

"Since the opening of the new locks exactly a year ago, we have seen a positive development in the local bunker market," noted Rasmus Jacobsen, Managing Director for Monjasa Americas. "On a daily basis, we already see 6 ships passing through the new locks, and as the tonnage further increases, we expect this number will increase to 8, 10, or possibly 12.

Jacobsen acknowledged that the company was seeing new customer segments beyond container and bulk carriers transiting the Canal, including liquefied gas tankers and passenger ships.

Monjasa's director for the Americas explained that, as a bunker supplier, the challenge will now be for the company to offer increased flexibility to its customers as the waiting time at anchorage for the vessels to transit is gradually reduced.

The company noted that it was also seeing a trend towards larger single fuel supplies rather than a significant increase in the total number of deliveries.

Improved sourcing opportunities and focus on quality of service

On the sourcing side, Monjasa says a number of key oil cargo players are now active in the Panama market, which in turn has improved sourcing opportunities for bunker suppliers.

"There are around ten physical bunker suppliers in the Panama Canal; however, as one of the only ISO-certified bunker companies operating here, we set the bar high when it comes to quality, not least the one delivered by our sourcing partners. We are thus pleased to see a development where two-three oil cargo majors have entered the local market as it brings us new opportunities," Jacobsen remarked.

One method implemented by Monjasa that is designed to help meet the needs of its clients is its customer satisfaction programme in the Canal for each supply operation.

"This is a pioneering approach in this market and we take the feedback we receive very seriously. I believe that such an initiative also assists the overall development of the Panama Canal being perceived as a reliable and increasingly regulated marine fuel hub," Jacobsen said.

Monjasa currently manages four barges in the Panama Canal - three in Balboa and one in Cristobal - and claims to deliver between 35,000 and 40,000 metric tonnes of oil products in the area per month.

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