Energy Minister Highlights Growing Bunkering Sector

Photo: Kavanaugh Campbell Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley

Story Highlights

  • The Government is working towards ensuring that Jamaica’s geographical advantage is leveraged to attract a sizeable shipping base, to boost the bunkering sector.
  • This was emphasised by Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, as he delivered the keynote address at the opening of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) Caribbean Conference at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Montego Bay on April 18.
  • “We want to ensure that players in the bunker supply chain are internationally competitive and that the supply infrastructure can cater to an expanded demand for bunkering,” he said. He pointed out that Jamaica is increasingly becoming a significant location for bunkering, driven by a number of factors.

The Government is working towards ensuring that Jamaica’s geographical advantage is leveraged to attract a sizeable shipping base, to boost the bunkering sector.

This was emphasised by Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, as he delivered the keynote address at the opening of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) Caribbean Conference at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Montego Bay on April 18.

“We want to ensure that players in the bunker supply chain are internationally competitive and that the supply infrastructure can cater to an expanded demand for bunkering,” he said. He pointed out that Jamaica is increasingly becoming a significant location for bunkering, driven by a number of factors.

These include the projected rise in shipping traffic from the widening of the Panama Canal and the country’s positioning as a major cargo centre; and the country’s distinction of being a premier cruise destination with more than 1.9 million cruise ship stopover visitors.

Dr. Wheatley said that with the accommodation of Post Panamax ships and other positive developments in future shipping traffic to Jamaica, the country’s outlook for bunkering is good.

He added that Jamaica’s maritime appeal provided “unparalleled opportunities for the establishment of a range of ancillary services to the global shipping industry, as we move towards making Jamaica a major maritime centre in the Caribbean.”

According to the Minister, the country’s thrust towards this end will be advanced with the development of a core of ancillary ship-related services which will allow it to capitalise on the cluster effect of a shipping hub.

He informed that bunkering, which is the refuelling of ships, is a vital part of the shipping industry and that the Government is seeking to position the country to reap the rewards that are to be gained from the industry. “It is expected that bunker volumes will hit 1.9 million tonnes per annum by 2025, but only if the Government introduces the necessary legal and administrative framework,” he explained.

The Minister said the Government is fully supportive of the growth of the bunkering industry and welcomes both local and foreign investors. “We see bunkering as an aggregate of ship-related services that will enhance the attractiveness and competitiveness of Jamaica as a premier shipping hub,” he said.

The conference was hosted jointly by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica and IBIA from April 17 to 19.

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