The Aegean Marine Petroleum Network has secured permission from the South African Maritime Safety Authority to deliver bunkers and perform ship-to-ship transfers in Algoa Bay, an area that includes two ports, Port Elizabeth and Coega.
Algoa Bay allows more than 50 ships to be anchored at the same time. Some 30 miles away from shore, the water depth reaches about 100 meters, and access from the high seas is easy wide open with almost no deviation for ships passing South Africa, Aegean said.
The company, established in 1995, expects to attract passing ships with a new operation offering bunkers at anchorage in South Africa’s Algoa Bay, making it the first company able to offer fuels outside port limits (OPL) in South Africa.
Aegean has obtained bunkering licenses from Transnet National Ports Authority in the Port Elizabeth and Coega Ports, according to its latest quarterly company news magazine.
Located within a few miles of heavily trafficked international shipping lanes, the new bunkering operation in Algoa Bay is well positioned as a natural stopover on routes to Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia and both coasts of Africa. The region includes eight commercial ports that are busy conduits for global trade. Approximately two million metric tons of bunker fuel is sold annually in the region, underscoring that Aegean’s new operations are located in a robust market with potential for growth.
The company said South Africa “is ideally positioned within the East–West shipping routes” which currently offer few bunker supply alternatives.
In addition to offering passing ships a new bunkering stop with minimal deviation, it also cuts out port expenses, which can be significant.
Aegean has established a local private company, Aegean Bunkering Marine Services Pty Ltd with a 26% share allocated to a South African partner to look after Aegean’s business in the country.
Aegean said it will offer the possibility to supply ships with RMG 380 – a 380 CST fuel oil grade, and marine gasoil (MGO).
That will make Aegean’s offering different from the oil majors that have a supply monopoly in South Africa’s key bunkering ports – Durban, Cape Town and Richards Bay – where typically the only fuel oil grade offered to the market is RMF180, a 180 CST fuel oil grade.
E. Nikolas Tavlarios, President of Aegean Marine Petroleum Network, said, “The launch of bunkering operations in Algoa Bay is consistent with our strategy to opportunistically enter new markets. This strategic expansion allows us to take advantage of compelling market dynamics while simultaneously providing customers with a faster, more efficient and affordable alternative in the region. We are confident that entering this attractive market will strengthen Aegean’s unique market position and prospects for continued growth. As we move forward, we remain committed to extending our successful track record of geographic diversification, which we believe will continue to benefit our customers and drive value creation for our shareholders.”