Vizhinjam port logo

Dept of Ports to make Vizhinjam a bunkering port

Posted on 16 Oct 2014

The Department of Ports is gearing up to make Vizhinjam a bunkering port to tap the potential of the business in view of proximity to the international sea routes and the East-West Shipping Axis.

The procedures to extend bunkering services from the existing wharf at Vizhinjam had started, Director of Ports P.I. Sheik Pareeth said.

The services of multiple agencies were needed and the modalities were being worked out with the stakeholders. The department was trying to exploit the strategic and unbeatable inherent advantages of the location, he said.

The port was just 10-12 nautical miles away from the busy Persian Gulf- Malacca shipping lines which carried almost a third of the world’s maritime traffic. Piracy issues had prompted vessels on the Red Sea - far east route to take a relatively northerly route and steam closer to west India. This would turn advantageous to Vizhinjam and Kochi, sources said.

The aim was to make available from the port food, water, and other things needed for the vessels that moved along the outer channel.

Besides generating revenue, bunkering business would bring in a sea change to the harbour and generate employment in the supply and logistics industry.

More maritime services could be generated in the port area. A supply hub could be developed and the increased utilisation of hotels and flights was possible, Mr. Pareeth said.

The preference shown by shipping lines towards Kochi and the government’s steps to promote it prompted the department to think of Vizhinjam as a bunkering port.

The service delivery would be as per Customs procedures governing the supply of fuel, ship stores, provisions, and fresh water to vessels on foreign run, round-the-clock, he said.

The government had reduced value-added tax (VAT) on bunkers being sold to foreign-going vessels. This had given a boost to bunker sales. Kochi and Colombo were the nearest bunkering ports. The annual bunkering market in India was estimated to be over 12 lakh tonnes, sources said.

Source: The Hindu