More than thirty oil tankers have anchored in the Malacca Strait off Singapore & Malaysia, as traders stockpile fuel ahead of the biggest u-turn in the shipping industry in a generation.

The flotilla has been expanding for months as traders amass supplies of fuel that comply with new shipping IMO 2020 standards that take effect from January 1. In April, it was estimated that at least 5 vessels loaded with low-sulfur fuel oil and blending components were sitting off Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ship refueling ports.

IMO 2020 regulations require ships to be powered by cleaner-burning fuel with less than 0.5% sulfur, compared with current industry standard of over 3%. Traders and bunker oil suppliers have been scrambling to secure fuels that can meet the new specifications, or create a blend comprising oil such as gasoil, low-sulfur fuel oil, low-sulfur crude oil, high-sulfur fuel oil and other components.

Crude oil grades such as Australia’s Pyrenees, Vincent, Stag and Barrow Island, Brazil’s Atlanta and Ostra Blend, Congo’s Emeraude Blend, North Sea’s Clair and Thailand’s Wassana are also being hoarded on tankers in the Strait, according to data-intelligence sources.