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AfricaMoney | August 22, 2017

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Mauritius & Seychelles aim for a bigger share of the Indian Ocean bunker market

Mauritius & Seychelles aim for a bigger share of the Indian Ocean bunker market

Besides the longer-term plans to increase storage capacity near the port in a joint venture with Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), the Mauritian government plans to operate a floating storage facility to attract more bunkering business. (Image: Officer of the Watch)

The island nations of Mauritius and Seychelles are aiming for a bigger share of the booming bunker market of the Indian Ocean, which is a sector that covers supply of fuel to ships for their own use.

Accordingly, the State Trading Corporation (STC) of Mauritius announced that a joint venture with Indian Oil Corporation’s subsidiary, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), will be set up to market petrochemical products.

It may be noted that the STC, as the government of Mauritius’ trading arm, is responsible for importing certain essential commodities including all petroleum products and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) traded in Mauritius.

The aim is to increase storage capacity near the port, both for re-export and to secure Mauritius’ own supplies of approximately 900,000 tonnes per year, which are delivered from Mangalore Refinery by a Mauritius-flagged crude oil tanker.

Besides the longer-term plans, the Mauritian government plans to operate a floating storage facility to attract more bunkering business.

However, Mauritius is expecting a 25,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil storage facility to be accessible in the third quarter of 2015.

In February 2014, specialised bunkering news agency, Ship & Bunker, had reported that Mauritius wanted to triple its bunker volumes ‘in the medium term,’ which now stand at 300,000 tonnes.

The plan called for the liberalisation of the bunker trade to reduce the price of marine fuel, as well as expanding associated industries such as the sale of ships supplies, vessel repairs and maintenance, crew management, and ship leasing.

Additionally, the plans called for breaking the STC’s current monopoly on the import of petroleum products, which is supposed to increase ship calls at Port Louis and bring in private investment of Rs 2.5 billion.

As for Seychelles, the island has been able to set itself as a bunkering hub with the use of its current floating operation, which is run by state-owned Seychelles Petroleum Company Limited (SEYPEC).

According to SEYPEC’s CEO Conrad Benoiton, Seychelles is expecting increased bunkering activity because of a boom in tuna fishing.

Source: Ship & Bunker

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