29 March 2015, Port Louis – The Australian quoted investment private bank Macquarie has expressed interest to finance through a local partner, Scott Shipping, and Atlantic Energy Consulting, a first offshore oil bunkering facility to the tune of some $ 100 million Australian Dollars in the Port Louis harbour.
The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Ashit Gungah, on behalf of the Mauritian Government handed over the letter of intent to the Australian High Commissioner in Mauritius, Mrs Susan Coles, and the Project Leader, Mr John Young, yesterday in Port Louis.
Following the completion of this step, Macquarie will shortly submit its Operational Plan and application for an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) as well as a risk assessment. After approval by the Mauritian Government, this will result in the conclusion of a signing of a formal agreement between the Mauritian Government and Macquarie.
In his address on the occasion, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Ashit Gungah, expressed optimism towards the materialisation of the project which he said is one among the projects to transform Port-Louis Harbour from a destination port to a Regional hub and make of Port Louis a Bunkering hub in the Indian Ocean. Besides the bunkering activity, he said that other related side activities such as changing of crew and ship chandling will take place thus helping to bring foreign exchange in the country as well as in job creation.
Minister Gungah also underlined that with the availability of bunkering in Port-Louis, the number of vessels entering the harbour will increase exponentially and added that Macquarie has indicated that in its first year of operation, it will bring an additional 900 to 1000 vessels to Port-Louis. In parallel, he said that Government is looking into possibilities to embark on projects for increasing the storage capacity of petroleum products in the port area.
He further pointed out that annually, some 35000 vessels pass off the shores of Mauritius on their trips between Asia, Southern Africa and South America. Out of these only about 3500 have recourse to services currently offered in Port-Louis.
For her part, the Australian High Commissioner in Mauritius, Mrs Susan Coles, highlighted that the project is a first one under the port development pillar of the Ocean Economy and will put Mauritius on the Indian Ocean Shipping and bunker trading map. She added that this development shows that Mauritius with its new pillar of Ocean Economy is open for business. Development of the port and related services for maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean will help create major opportunities for Mauritian SMEs and jobs prospects, she concluded.
*Government of Mauritius