Bunkers / Marine Fuel

Imperium Commodity Search maintains relationships with Bunker Trading / Brokering candidates and firms globally; strategically managing our relationships to ensure an ability to service our clients/candidates needs across a variety of private firms across the Marine Fuel and Lubricants space. 

Our consultants have expert knowledge of the global bunker / marine fuel markets and can advise on career options as well as strategic hires in the space through both retained and contingent recruitment methodologies.  Our recruitment team manage our client relationships strategically to ensure we are not bound by blanket non-poaches by global conglomerates.  This means we can offer a full service recruitment solution to clients and candidates alike. 

Our Experience

View our showreel below to see some of the mandates our consultants have worked on within the nuts and soft commodity markets for our clients.

Bunker Trading / Marine Fuel & Lubricants 

What is Bunker Fuel?

Bunker Fuel or Marine Fuel is a catch all term to describe all fuel used to power ships.  The name ‘Bunker Fuel’ or ‘Bunkers’ comes from the storage tanks on ships that holds the fuel.  Marine Fuel varies between ships.  Large deepsea cargo vessels usually burn heavy residuals; oil left after the distillation process at the ‘bottom of the barrel’. 

Bunkers come in grades based on their viscosity and can be mixed with diesel to power heavy engines on marine carriers.  Marine Fuel is particularly toxic and hazardous to marine life – measures are taken to ensure security of supply vessels, tanks and bunkers on ships to reduce the risk of spillage or leaks. 

How are Bunkers traded? 

Bunkers / Marine fuel is traded by back to back traders, physical suppliers and offshore specialists.

Back to Back traders are often supported by a team of operators and analysts, ensuring a smooth logistics/shipping process to end users.  Firms that purely trade bunkers back to back, purchase the fuel from physical suppliers or oil majors and sell this onto end users/clients.  They do not manage the physical supply process in most cases, but often have relationships with physical suppliers at specific ports whereby they can offer a price/volume to clients that enables them to make ‘margin’ or ‘profit’ on the trade.  Often a client/ship owner will work with a bunker trader who has relationships with numerous suppliers in a port and will receive quotes on an inquiry.  The back to back trader will arrange for the cheapest supplier to supply their client and take a margin on the introduction. 

Physical Suppliers
are generally split into two teams; supply traders and customer traders.  Supply traders purchase fuel/contracts from Oil Majors (BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron etc) and have storage facilities in port as well as physical assets (barges, terminals etc).  Supply traders will normally have a risk appetite for physical and derivative trade to purchase fuel at best price from various refineries and producers.  Customer traders are client focused, handling large accounts of ship owners and manage the relationships with back to back traders, to provide quotes through the traders to ship owners / end users.

Offshore Specialists supply oil and gas exploration vessels and rigs in international waters.  Client base consists of drilling/rigging ships, dredgers, exploration vessels and rig supply craft.  Offshore bunker traders often have close relationships with producers and rig owners/operators to supply fleets across the space, ensuring smooth operation of the rig/exploration site as a whole.

Where are Bunkers traded? 

Physical suppliers own assets (terminals and barges) in ports globally, supplying a range of vessels from their own storage facilities.  The ports with the largest physical supply port in the world is Singapore, where almost 50 million metric tonnes (MT) of bunker is supplied each year.  Other notable supply ports are Fujairah (UAE), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Hong Kong and Antwerp (Belgium).  Singapore supplies almost twice as much fuel each year than its closest competitor, Fujairah.  In the US, LA holds the crown as the largest supplier by volume.  

Back to back traders are spread more widely globally, as they have the ability to maintain relationships at numerous ports.  London, Geneva, Greece, Gibraltar, Monaco, The Baltics, Miami, Houston, Singapore, Dubai, Denmark, Norway and Benelux have a large concentration of back to back bunker traders.  Back to back traders maintain relationships at port/physical supply level in their target ports, often carving out a niche area/fuel type to be able to offer margins to specific clients/ship owners. 

Who are the clients? 

Bunker traders manage portfolios in specific sectors of the marine industry.  Specialists can cover the oil & gas markets, offshore, cargo vessels and even as niche as managing clients in the fishing/yachting industry.  Bunker trading companies are often established to service a specific segment, and can have specific teams/traders that deal with certain markets.  

What is the Salary for a bunker trader? 

Bunker traders are often paid a basic salary and a commission/bonus dependent upon their revenues/PnL for a set period.  Starting salaries for bunker traders are 40-60,000USD dependent on region, while senior traders with large portfolios  can be earning upwards of 130,000USD.

Salaries can vary between groups as the split between basic and commission changes.  Some traders will earn large increases on salary as they move to a new firm if they have access to a particular portfolio of clients/customers that is of interest to the employer.  It is not unusual to see traders receive a substantial increase on revenue split/commission when bringing a transferable portfolio of marine fuel clients into a business.  

Imperium Commodity Search – Specialist Headhunter to the Marine Fuel / Bunker markets

Imperium Commodity Search have relationships with both back to back traders and physical suppliers globally, maintaining a client base that is attractive to our exceptional candidates.  We strategically partner ourselves with firms with sustainable growth plans and strong relationships.  Josh Clark manages our accounts with bunker trading firms and has a specialist knowledge of the landscape globally, offering a specialised service to clients and candidates alike.  

If you are interested in finding out how we can assist you in finding your next opportunity in the global bunkers / marine fuel space, or are growing your trading team and looking to identify/source top talent, then please call us now on +44 (0) 203 927 5090 or register online here and one of our Commodity Consultants will contact you ASAP.

To view our current bunker trading, operations and support vacancies click here or contact one of our consultants to discuss current careers / jobs in bunker trading to discuss your needs in more detail. 

To arrange a consultation with a consultant to discuss your hiring needs / growth plans and where we can assist click here or contact one of our consultants directly here for a confidential discussion

Jobs in Bunkers

  • Back to Back Bunker Traders
  • Bunker Procurement / Sourcing
  • Offshore Bunker Trading
  • Analyst Marine Fuel
  • Risk Management
  • Bunker Broker
  • Production
  • Physical Bunker Sales
  • Cargo Trader
  • Hedging
  • Operations
  • Trade Finance
  • Logistics 
  • Bunker Broker
  • Research
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Yacht Trader
  • Scrubbers
  • Legal Counsel
  • Compliance 
  • Testing 
  • Physical Suppliers 

These are just a few examples of positions we recruit for, other positions are available.

To see our latest bunker trading jobs and vacancies, please click here

Contact Us

We are here to help. Speak to one of our experienced recruitment consultants now on +44 (0) 203 927 5090


Send us a message online and we will come back to you.

Bunker News

For all the latest marine fuel news, pricing and intelligence visit Ship & Bunker


Sustainability & ESG

We are proud to bring a ‘first of kind’ ESG commitment as part of our guaranteed hire search process.  Partnering with Ripple Africa to plant trees, aid carbon neutrality and offer carbon credit certification we work with clients to recruit in a sustainable way that is unique to us.

Find out more on our Sustainability page