Bunker Business

Apr 12, 2010 (LBO) – Indian Oil Corp’s Sri Lankan unit aims to expand bunker sales by selling fuel to ships passing the island, a much bigger market than the vessels which call at Colombo port, officials said. With bunker prices falling and the price difference between Colombo and Singapore narrowing, more ships have begun taking fuel in Colombo.

“Ships have started coming to Colombo for bunkers only because they are getting fuel at a reasonably good price,” said Lanka IOC managing director K R Suresh Kumar.

Sale of fuel to ships off port limits have also increased in the last six months.

“That’s where the volume is,” Suresh Kumar told LBO in an interview. “Larger vessels can’t come in to the port.”

LIOC is looking to supply bunkers to ships sailing past the island on the main East-West trade route that do not necessarily call Colombo to load or discharge cargo.

In January, the company supplied 3,000 tonnes of fuel to a tanker, a parcel so big that the firm had to charter two barges to make delivery off Colombo port.

Port officials said the number of vessels calling Colombo for bunkers only have increased markedly – to 120 last year – compared with only 21 in 2008, 12 in 2007 an