Fair Play

April 25, 2009 (LBO) – Bunker prices in Colombo port have fallen following a court verdict that ended an effective monopoly on ship fuel held by Sri Lanka’s biggest conglomerate and opened up the market. Shipping lines said price differences with competing ports had also narrowed sharply after the market was liberalized with more suppliers competing with each other.

“Now bunker prices are quite reasonable because there is competition between suppliers,” said an official of a shipping line whose ships take on fuel at Colombo.

“The price differences with Singapore have also narrowed.”

Prices of fuel in Singapore had always been significantly lower than Colombo as the former is one of the world’s top crude oil refining centres.

But shipping lines had complained that price differences of a hundred dollars or more a tonne, when ship fuel was an effective monopoly in Colombo, were too high.

“The price differences have definitely narrowed. Now it’s about 50-60 dollars compared with 100 dollars when there was a monopoly, and fuel is also more available.”

Up to eight suppliers have now been given licenses to sell bunkers in Colombo port.

According to published prices, which ca