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Mauritius outlines ambitions to develop bunkering hub

Mauritius outlines ambitions to develop bunkering hub
The island nation of Mauritius has outlined its ambitions to develop its capital and largest city Port Louis into a global ship refueling hub that will be able to sell 1m metric tonnes of bunker fuel per year.

The country’s ministry of ocean economy, marine resources, fisheries, shipping and outer islands said the bunkering hub will also be able to employ some 25,000 people.

In 2014, Port Louis sold 287,546 metric tonnes of bunker fuel, achieving a 6.8% increase from 269,324 metric tonnes supplied in 2013.

Each year, around 35,000 ships transit the waters around Mauritius moving between Asia, southern Africa and South America, and a greater number of ships are taking on bunker fuel in Port Louis over the last few years.

The Mauritius government has embarked on an amibitious plan to transform the port into a business-friendly, industry leading petroleum and bunkering hub.

It pointed out that bunker trade has been liberalised, with government incentives provided through the reduction and removal of charges and duties and an improved quicker process for issuing bunkering licences and import permits.

The port limits have also been enlarged to provide for sites which would allow the anchorage and expansion of petroleum-based activities.

Peter Hall, ceo of International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), said: “This development could be a significant economic accelerator for the country, as ships that stop for fuel spend on other services.

“In fact, it is estimated that at current prices, for every $100 spent on fuel, an additional $100 is spent in the local economy, on direct and indirect services such as agency fees, port charges and deliveries to the ship and crew transfers, hotels, career development, finance, bunker trading, to just mention a few,” Hall added.