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Malaysia plans ‘sole competent authority’ for bunkering, says Transport Minister

22 Aug 2019

Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times was present at the ‘Low Sulphur Bunker Fuel 2020: Assessing Readiness of Malaysian Ports to Become Leading Bunkering Hub’ conference held in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (20 August):

Several initiatives for spurring Malaysia’s bunkering industry are under consideration by the country’s shipping and ports council, says its Minister of Transport Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

He was delivering a keynote speech at the ‘Low Sulphur Bunker Fuel 2020: Assessing Readiness of Malaysian Ports to Become Leading Bunkering Hub’ conference in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (20 August) when he said the country has plans, amongst others, to establish a bunkering authority.

“Bunkering services are by far one the most important activities that is carried out by ships in ports. Besides the availability of reliable supplies, shipowners and charterers need to be assured of the efficiency of the services, quality of fuel, transparent means of determining the correct quantity, and conformance to the highest safety and pollution prevention standards,” he said.

“Given the considerable number of vessel calls especially in Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas and the vessels transiting the Straits of Malacca, there is a huge potential for these vessels to bunker at ports along the Straits without having to incur any diversion cost.”

According to Loke, the Ministry of Transport of Malaysia, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Marine Department of Malaysia, port authorities and terminal operators are working closely with domestic and international shipping lines, bunker suppliers and oil majors, in particular Malaysia’s national oil company Petronas, to address certain concerns of stakeholders within the marine fuels sector.

“Under the Malaysian shipping and ports council which I chair, intensive work is in the progress involving the relevant stakeholders on several fronts,” he shares.

“This includes identification of issues related to bunker supply and demand, licensing of service providers, integrity aspects including quality and quantity of fuel, competency of personnel in the bunkering industry, and construction and operational standards of the bunker vessels.

“Equal emphasis will also be given on formulating government policies that will spur and stimulate the industry given the huge economic spinoff that can be derived from the bunkering industry.

“Initiatives such as the use of mass flowmeters on board bunker vessels, training and licencing of bunker surveyors, determination of fuel standards, setting up of bunker testing labs within port areas, the appointment of a sole competent authority to oversee the bunkering industry will be given upmost consideration.

“Feedback from the council and outcome of consultations with stakeholders will be referred to the government for approval to embark on improvement and changes that will launch the bunkering industry towards greater excellence and complement the role of ports to better serve the shipping industry.”

Moving forward, Loke is confident Malaysia will be able to supply IMO 2020 compliant marine fuels, notably low sulphur fuel oil, from 1 January 2020 onwards.

“Today the major ports of Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas are supplying nearly 4 million metric tonnes (mt) of fuel oil to ships calling at these two ports. The question on everyone’s minds is whether these two major ports will be able to provide low sulphur fuel come January next year,” he says.

“I will like to reassure our esteemed shipping lines that sufficient low sulphur fuel will be available to meet their demands. With 5 million mt of storage and blending facilities in Westports Bunkering Services in Port Klang, Vitol in Tanjung Bin, and Port of Tanjung Langsat in Johor, sufficient supplies will be available to meet immediate demands.

“Additionally, approved ship to ship activities in Tanjung Pelepas, Malacca, Kuala Linggi, is expected to supplement any additional demand for low sulphur fuels in the shipping industry.”

The ‘Low Sulphur Bunker Fuel 2020: Assessing Readiness of Malaysian Ports to Become Leading Bunkering Hub’ conference is hosted by Port Klang and organised by the Maritime Institute of Malaysia.

Photo credit: Anthony Loke Siew Fook
Published: 22 August, 2019


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