The bunker trade is another major segment that Government and the MPA are actively promoting. Bunkering commonly refers to the provision of bunker fuel (fuel/gas oil) to ships to power their engines. Bunker fuel is supplied either by dedicated fuel barges to ships anchored inside/outside the port or by pipelines for vessels berthed at quays.
The Indian Ocean is one of the busiest oceans in the world and at any given moment it is bustling with maritime traffic. It is estimated that some 35,000 vessels travel through our region each year, with less than 10% of ship traffic calling at Port Louis. Port Louis can capture more and more business with the increase of ship traffic in the region.
Bunkering services are carried out all year round by six local suppliers, i.e. Indian Oil (Mauritius) Ltd; Vivo Energy Mauritius Ltd, Total Mauritius Ltd, Engen (Mauritius) Ltd, Taylor Smith Bunkering and Bomin (Mauritius) Ltd. Three grades of bunker fuel, namely MGO (DMA), IFO 180 cst (RME) and IFO 380 cst are currently available in Port Louis.
The following measures have been implemented to promote this sector:
STC has removed the margin on its transfer price to bunker operators as from 1st January 2014;
Gradual shift from STC imports to direct imports by oil companies as from 1st January 2014;
Removal of MID levy of 30 cents per litre (approximately USD 11 per MT) on bunker fuel as from 1st July 2015;
Extension of the excise duty and VAT exemption on bunker fuel consumed within port limits by vessels engaged in the supply of bunker fuel.
In order to further develop the bunker trade at Port Louis, the MPA has allocated land in the port area to private promoters for the construction of additional storage facilities, which will increase the storage capacity ashore form its current levels of 145,000 tonnes to over 200,000 tonnes by mid-2018. Government has announced that it intends to construct a petroleum jetty which will be located in Albion. These facilities will position Port Louis as a petroleum hub for the region and as an ideal location to supply bunker to passing vessels.