Bunker Race

Mar 01, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation plans to tie up with global ship supply firm GAC Ships to supply bunkers or ship fuel, officials said. The move is expected to bring down bunker prices in Colombo port, now among the highest in the world, as well as improve availability.

The GAC group which is active in the Middle East has an office in Sri Lanka with its partners, McLarens shipping.

Bunker prices in Colombo are high because of limited supply and the need to ship the fuel from overseas, mainly Singapore.

Supply of bunkers in Colombo had long been a monopoly of Lanka Marine Services, a former CPC subsidiary that was privatized and sold to conglomerate John Keells Holdings several years ago.

LMS has become a key source of profits for JKH.

Even though privatisation was supposed to end the monopoly, LMS held an effective monopoly on ship fuel sales as it owns the only available shore based storage tanks.

Rival private bunker supplier Sri Lanka Shipping uses floating storage tankers.

CPC chairman Ashantha de Mel had previously announced the company’s intention of getting back into the profitable bunkering