Fuel bunkering under the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port will commence operations by June 15, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrama said.
"Bunkering operations will start by June 15 at the newly built fuel bunkering terminal at Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port," Wickrama said. "The terminal, which will provide fuel for ships, has been constructed at a cost of US $95 million in line with the Magampura Port development project. The ship fuelling unit comes with an initial capacity of 55,000 tonnes and it is scheduled to expand gradually parallel to the expansion of the port and its services."
According to the chairman, all facilities have been tested for fuel bunkering and the first shipment of fuel for bunkering will be received in the first week of June. An oil tank farm with 14 tanks with an investment of US $ 76 is also constructed at the Hambantota Port. The farm has eight tanks for fuel bunkering facilities for vessels, three tanks for aero fuel and three tanks for storing LP gas. The 14 tanks will also have an overall capacity of 80,000m3.
It is envisaged that many of the 4,500 oil tankers would anchore at Hambantota for bunkering, ship repairing and also to purchase food, water, medical supplies as well as logistics, Wickrama said. It has been planned to offer bunkering services at the lowest possible rate in the Indian subcontinent at the initial stage. The tank farm will initially handle 55,000 tonnes of shipping fuel with eight tanks and is expected to add further 100,000 tonnes under the second phase.
The capacity could be expanded up to 650,000 tonnes depending on the demand in due course. According to the SLPA goals, it is targeting 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes of sales in the first year. This will expanded to 1 million tonnes per annum within a period of five years, the chairman said.