India’s Matrix Bharat expects bunker fuel sales to grow by 8-10% annually


Matrix Bharat is targeting an 8-10% year-on-year growth in bunker sales in 2017 by expanding its operations in India and Singapore, CEO Ashok Sharma said Friday.

The company currently handles 1 million mt/year in cargo trading and bunker sales, he said.

MXB is a 50:50 joint venture between Matrix Marine Fuels, a subsidiary of German oil trading company Mabanaft, and India’s state-owned refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. It is the international bunkering agent for BPCL in Singapore and India, and sources most of its fuel from the Indian refiner.

Sharma declined to comment on the company’s specific plans for the bunkering hub of Singapore.

Bunker fuel sales in Singapore rose 6.5% year on year to a record 45.2 million mt in 2015, data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore showed.

India’s marine fuel sales to foreign-flagged shipping vessels was estimated to grow 10-12% annually to reach 1.7 million mt by 2017 following the government’s efforts to develop port infrastructure and reduce taxes to make bunkering more price competitive, Sharma said.

MXB supplies various grades of bunker fuel and marine gasoil via barge and pipelines. It has a total of 12 barges in Mumbai and Kochi, which have been deployed on a contractual basis, Sharma said.

The company planned to focus on expanding its operations in India by increasing its customer base as well as speed of bunker fuel delivery to vessels as more infrastructure is developed, he added.

Crude and petroleum throughput off the coast of Mumbai is handled at Jawahar Dweep Island where one of the existing four jetties was being converted to load barges and this was likely to be operational by March 2017, Sharma said.

“Once the barge is operational, bunkering of around 2,000 mt of marine fuel, which usually takes about 2-3 days, will take only 2-3 hours,” he added.

The government’s Maritime Agenda 2010-2020 was aimed at enhancing delivery and efficiency at ports, Sharma said.

The Maritime Agenda includes a proposed investment of around Rupees 2.96 trillion ($44.16 billion) for various measures such as developing two major and two hub ports on the eastern and western coasts by 2020.

To boost bunkering activities, VAT had been cut for shipping vessels in some states such as Kerala and Karnataka and more recently in Andhra Pradesh, Sharma said. Andhra Pradesh cut VAT for coastal and foreign vessels at all ports to 0.5% from 14.5% from February 1.

Source: Platts 

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