Mauritius, through its geographical location, is found on one of the busiest shipping lane between central Asia, Africa and South America. Gradually, Port Louis Harbour is witnessing an increasing demand for bunker fuels from vessels connecting the West to Asia and vice versa. It is estimated that about 35, 000 vessels pass by Mauritius and the strategy is to attract more vessels to Port Louis for bunker supply and other associated services.
Port Louis Harbour has been experiencing a constant rise in the supply of bunker fuel during the last two decades and it is foreseen that this trend will continue in the years to come.
The success of the strategy is confirmed by the constantly increasing volume of bunker fuel supplied to vessels calling at the Port and the growing interest of bunker service providers to position themselves thereat. Under its Ocean Economy Strategy, Government targets to raise the bunker fuel handling throughput at Port Louis to 1.5 million MT by 2025.
In 2020, a total volume of 640,746 metric tonnes (MT) was handled as compared to a total volume of 661,474 in 2019, showing a slight decrease owing to the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the brunt of this pandemic, the bunkering segment has shown much resilience and is recovering rapidly.
Bunkering services are carried out all year round by local operators, i.e. Indian Oil (Mauritius) Ltd; Vivo Energy Mauritius Ltd, Total Mauritius Ltd, Engen (Mauritius) Ltd, Stonewin (Mauritius) Ltd, Oceanis Bunkering Ltd and Tresta Trading Ltd.
Bunker sale in Mauritius is rapidly increasing since 2015 as a result of a series of actions taken, namely:
Abolition of Maurice Ile Durable (MID) levy of 30 cents per litre (approximately 11 USD per MT) on bunker fuels as from 01st July 2015;
Gradual shift from State Trading Corporation (STC) imports to direct imports by Oil companies as from 01st January 2014;
Removal of margin on the transfer price to bunker suppliers as from 01st January 2014;
Extension of the excise duty and VAT exemption on bunker fuel consumed within port limits by bunker barges engaged in the supply of bunker fuel.
Discounted prices on port charges (port dues & anchorage fees).
Mobilisation of floating storage vessel by some Operators.
In order to achieve Government vision to position Port Louis as a Regional Bunkering/Petroleum Hub, an equilibrium will be required between the commercial and environmental aspects of bunkering operations. Thus, there is a need to have a reliable oil spill response plan which will ensure continuity of the business and other port activities. Therefore, in addition to the statutory requirements to be met by the bunker operators, the MPA as a regulator of port activities, has prepared a “Code of Practice for Bunkering Operations” for Port Louis Harbour to assist in the safe conduct of bunkering operations . The safety, environmental and operational risks involved in the supply of marine bunker requires preventive measures to be adopted to ensure that the level of risk is within acceptable limits and thus, a series of measures are being applied by the Authority.
In order to further develop the bunker trade at Port Louis, the MPA has earmarked land at Fort William to accommodate future storage tanks including bunker products.