The Chinese company owned Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) has achieved a turn-over of 500,000 ton volume in their bunkering business during the first eight months of 2023.
The throughput which is five times in volume compared to 2022, is attributed to the port’s strategic partnership with Chinese company Sinopec Fuel Oil Lanka Limited (SFOL), for the supply and trade of Marine bunker fuel.
Through the offer of marine bunker fuel at competitive pricing to local bunker suppliers, Hambantota Port has facilitated the supply of over 80 per cent of the Marine bunker market in Sri Lanka this year. HIP’s overall oil and gas throughput to date was further complemented, with the handling of 150,000 tons of liquified petroleum gas.
“These numbers, which are proof that the port is moving towards the target status of an energy hub, were made possible owing to the aggressive proactive measures taken by HIPG to invest in the refurbishment of our tank farm facilities and upgrading them to Lloyds Standard specifications.
We have also introduced an independent ISO certified oil testing laboratory facility at the tank farm premises for the convenience of our partners. This lab facility provides Shipping Lines with the critical advantage of obtaining oil quality reports on a real time basis. The laboratory, run by Intertek UK is the only such facility available in Sri Lanka,” says TissaWickremasinghe, COO of HIPG.
The Hambantota Port and strategic partner Sinopec have worked together to uplift the Marine bunker business based at the port since 2022. They introduced the supply of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) to ocean going vessels, for the first time in South Asia. Apart from bunkers for main line merchant vessels plying the main East to West Shipping route, HIP’s strategic location at the tip of the island nation and close to the east west trade route benefits various other Shipping Lines whose vessels call at the port for normal cargo operations by also providing bunkering facilities.
HIP’s bunkering facility has greatly benefitted Ro-Ro liners who can easily refuel during their normal port stay which helps them to increase vessel operational efficiency.
The CEO says HIPG’s vision to establish the port as a regional energy hub will further strengthen its marine services such as ship lay-ups, ship repairs, ship chandling, ship crew changes, and the provision of ship engineering stores facilitated through local third party agencies. “I am confident all of these strategic endeavors will position the Hambantota International Port as a pre-eminent global maritime hub in the years to come,” he adds.