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Chennai port vies to become major bunkering destination


Chennai Port, located strategically between Singapore and Fujairah, the world’s first and second largest bunker fuel suppliers, has plans to make the south Indian city a bunker capital on the East coast. Efforts are underway to construct a dedicated bunker berth inside the port to accommodate bunker tankers, a move which is expected to swell the port’s revenues.

Fuel used to run a ship is referred as bunker fuel and world over, supply of bunker fuel is one of the major revenue sources for ports. While ships require heavy oil to run their engines, diesel oil is used to run generators and smaller machinery.

A senior official at the Chennai Port Trust told that a final agreement is to be signed in the coming week to construct a 181m long berth at a cost of 44 crore at Bharati dock to accommodate bunker ships.

“The port has been supplying bunker fuels to ships in the anchorage area outside the port for the past two years, a practice which wasn’t of the port’s 136-year-old history,” a port official said. The port will be able to meet a target bunker sales of up to 1MTPA (metric ton per annum), an official said. “Singapore and Fujairah have bunker sales of 45MTPA and 25MTPA respectively. Low prices of crude oil and better infrastructure are an advantage for them,” the official added. A shipping ministry report under the Centre’s SAGARMALA- a port modernisation and coastal economy development project, has noted how ironical it is of India to not have established itself as a bunker destination despite its location. The report further noted, “India is a major supplier of bunker cargo to Singapore. It has to realise its potential as a major bunker supplier.”