Trinidad and Tobago as a major bunkering location in the western hemisphere?
Yes, it’s quite possible, insists Aegean Marine Petroleum, one of the world's leading bunkering companies, which has been offering bunkering services locally since 2009.
Aegean, which hails from Greece, is not the only such provider in the Caribbean's energy centre – others include state-owned Petrotrin, which bunkers vessels at its port in Pointe-a- Pierre – but it claims to already be the largest.
It says its clients “encompass all major sectors within the shipping industry.”
It first set up in Jamaica in 2004 but later expanded to Trinidad and Tobago because of “the availability of high-quality fuels thanks to the Petrotrin refinery.”
Since Petrotrin draws its own bunkers from the refinery as well, there is no difference in quality, leaving the two, and other local rivals, to compete on service, which Aegean claims to do well.
As far as the Caribbean is concerned, Trinidad and Tobago is clearly an ideal destination for a bunkering business.
Aegean points out, “Trinidad and Tobago is a significant transshipment hub, which lies along major shipping lanes connecting South America to the Panama Canal, the Caribbean and the US Gulf Coast. Ships sailing through these waters encompass all sectors of the industry, including tankers, containers, general cargo vessels, dry bulk, chemical and gas carriers.”
Trinidad and Tobago is also a good place for bunkering activity since it is a party to the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) MARPOL regulation, which, among other things, requires all bunkering tankers entering the market to be double hulled.
Aegean boasts that it owns or operates “one of the largest doublehulled fleets in the industry.”
With 72 bunkering tankers, Aegean also claims to have increased its sales by 61.8% worldwide since it went public in 2007. It does not say however, how much of that expansion took place in the Caribbean.