Jamaica identified as ideal bunkering location

Jamaica has been identified as an ideal location for supplying bunker fuel to marine vessels with the prospects for growth very imminent.

The dredging of the main ship channel into the Kingston Harbour, which can now accommodate post-Panamax container vessels and the expansion of the Panama Canal to facilitate larger vessels, has boosted the island's potential as an ideal bunkering location. Jamaica was promoted as a suitable bunkering location at the recently concluded Global Bunkering Summit 2021.

Currently there are bunker operations operating out of the port of Kingston and catering to the cruise ship facilities located on the north coast, with the market set to grow even further. Analysts say the level of competitiom existing in the marketplace has served to improve fuel quality and service standards.

One of those promoting the growth of Jamaica's bunkering sector is Chelsea Jaouli, global business development manager of Tropic Oil, which is headquartered in Miami, Florida.

Jaouli pointed to the fiscal incentives under the Special Economic Zones Act allowing bunkering companies to enjoy fiscal and other incentives to facilitate the growth of the sector. Sunday Finance understands that several interests in the bunkering business overseas are drawn to Jamaica given the fact that its location allows additional ships passing through could do a bunker-only call with minimal deviation.

Jamaica's appeal is also due to the fact that it has the only maritime university in the English-speaking Caribbean and has one of the top operated container transhipment facilities handling cargo. Jaouli has declared that Jamaica has positioned itself well to dominate the bunkering market in the Caribbean with aspirations for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering in the future.

The Tropic Oil executive gave credit to Jamaican bunkering market's response to the coronavirus pandemic, where the Kingston suppliers 'wasted no time' in implementing the necessary pandemic protocols between surveyors, chief engineers and suppliers.

BY DURRANT PATE Observer business writer

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