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A dedicated bunker berth to come up at Chennai port

In an effort to woo liner vessels to the Chennai port, the port authorities are all set to clear a Rs 44 crore dedicated bunker berth at the Bharthi oil docks near the entrance of the port. Some liner vessels have shifted some of their cargo to the nearby Katupalli port because of the evacuation problems in the Chennai port

The 181 meter long bunker berth once constructed within a year will replace the present practice of limited supply of bunker fuel to ships at the outer anchorage taking advantage of the comparatively calm seas outside the Chennai port. The bunker berth is expected to improve the finances of the port which had otherwise taken beating because of the stiff competition from the neighboring ports and the evacuation problems. 

Port sources said that a final agreement for the construction of the berth is expected to be taken this week. With the commissioning of the dedicated berth the port is expected to handle nearly one million tons of bunker annually. Ships prefer to bunker at Indian ports including Chennai because of the quality of the product compared to Singapore. 

Over the years Singapore port is handling 45million tones of bunker oil every year. Ironically Singapore sources bunker from India. Low prices of crude oil and better infrastructure besides its strategic location near the Malacca straits have helped Singapore to develop bunker trade from the port. 

Chennai Port, located strategically between Singapore and Fujairah, the world’s first and second largest bunker fuel suppliers, has plans to make the south Indian city a bunker capital on the East coast. 

A shipping ministry report under the Centre’s SAGARMALA- a port modernisation and coastal economy development project, has noted how ironical it is of India to not have established itself as a bunker destination despite its location. The report further said India is a major supplier of bunker cargo to Singapore. It has to realise its potential as a major bunker supplier. Besides Chennai port, Cochin also handles bunker operations.

 

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