Hambantota Port launches landmark services on East-West Maritime Route

Hambantota International Port (HIP) achieved another milestone in their multi services portfolio when they launched the wholesale supply of Marine Bunker fuels, together with their strategic partner Sinopec Fuel Oil Lanka Limited (SFOL).

Local company Lanka Marine Services (LMS), market leader in the Sri Lankan bunker supply industry, was SOFL’s first buyer, carrying out an offshore bunkering operation with the support of HIP.  LMS supplied IMO 2020 compliant Very Low Sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) to their client, crude oil tanker m.v. Suez Hans, which was on route to the Suez from Chennai. The tanker refueled at the Hambantota Port anchorage via oil barge m.v. Kumana, chartered to LMS by HIP, to handle the bunker supply.

“This is a great opportunity for all Sri Lankan licensed Bunker Suppliers who are involved in supplying bunkers for vessels calling at any Port in Sri Lanka or plying the busy East-West Shipping route. Through our partnership with Sinopec, one of the largest global players trading VLSFO, they are well positioned to give competitive prices to attract vessels.  This is a new and dynamic change in the bunkering supply market in Sri Lanka.  With Sinopec entering the local market as a wholesaler the doors are now open to tap into the economies of scale this global giant can provide.  With the competitive prices they are offering, Sri Lanka can capture a larger regional market share of supplying bunkering for vessels, which will help all local players in this market to expand.  International trade is all about building synergies and creating opportunity, and this is a very good example of that,” Tissa Wickremasinghe, Chief Operating Officer of HIPG said.

SFOL is a BOI company registered in Sri Lanka under the HUB ACT, with access to privileges and trade concessions its parent company commands.  With the backing of Sinopec Fuel Oil, the world’s largest refiner with a global bunker supply network, and services offered by HIP, SFOL plans to expand Sri Lanka’s share in the regional marine bunker market.  They have already invested over 5 million US Dollars in a fully fledged IMO compliant oil tanker, which sails under the Sri Lankan flag. “We intend bringing cost-competitive low sulfur fuel to all local players who will in turn bring their global clients to Sri Lanka.  We imported 25,000 tons of low sulfur fuel oil to HIP in April 2020, but the port could not begin bunkering operations because of the COVID-19 lockdowns.  As operations are now reactivated, we are ready to supply and make mutually beneficial partnerships,” says Tao Lyu, General Manager of Sinopec Fuel Oil Lanka Limited, who has received BOI approval to trade wholesale, export, and also supply bunkers directly via the HIP tank farm pipelines.

Ray Ren, CEO of HIPG said, “As the world settles down into a new normal, trade and commerce are being re-engineered to create new synergies, which is what HIP is positioning itself for.  Any good venture must have dynamic partners, and this is one example of HIPG being inclusive in our approach to developing this multi purpose port.”

Sinopec with their vast resources will guarantee the supply of VLSFO and MGO in Hambantota, enabling the port to service all vessels plying the principal sea routes in the Indian Ocean.  HIPG’s partnership with one of the largest providers of bunkering services worldwide, will not only provide cost-competitive, high-quality products and effective safe services to their customers, but also underlines their goal of establishing Hambantota Port as a bunkering hub in South Asia.