Taiwan to end ban on offshore refueling near Kaohsiung harbor

To increase maritime traffic passing through Taiwan's southern harbor, the Maritime and Port Bureau will lift a 17 year ban on offshore refueling in waters off of Kaohsiung

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Kaohsiung Harbor (Image by Pixabay user thtsai77)

Kaohsiung Harbor (Image by Pixabay user thtsai77)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In order to attract more maritime traffic and trade to Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, the national Maritime and Port Bureau (交通部航港局) has decided to lift a 17 year old ban on ships refueling in nearby waters outside of the harbor.

According to reports, in order to increase Kaohsiung’s share of the bunkering market in the region, the Taiwanese government will once again allow offshore refueling outside Kaohsiung.

The Maritime and Port Bureau will reportedly designate specific anchorage areas, where certified vessels can be safely refueled offshore. A procedure for managing the anchorage areas and refueling process is currently being drafted by the Bureau, and is expected to be complete within a year.

Offshore bunkering in Kaohsiung will compete primarily with the bunkering business in Hong Kong, as Kaohsiung lies on many of the same key shipping routes to Northeast Asia, and cross Pacific routes to the U.S., used by many shipping companies in the region.

An industry source is quoted in the report as saying: “Bunker fuel pricing details have not been discussed yet, but I think it would [be] close to Hong Kong or regional bunker prices in order to compete effectively, otherwise it would be hard to attract business.”

The lifting of the ban is expected to increase fuel sales through Kaohsiung by an estimated 1.5 million metric tons per year. In 2017, fuel sales amounted to around 500,000 metric tons.

Such a significant increase is expected to create an estimated US$656 million dollars in revenue for the shipping industry.

Hellenic Shipping News reports that Taiwan’s CPC Corporation, Formosa Plastics Marine Corporation, and Winson Oil and several other companies are very interested in supporting the expanded refueling business around Kaohsiung.