SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Vopak, the world’s largest independent storage tank operator, has launched a new service that allows tankers docking at its Singapore Sebarok oil terminal to refuel while simultaneously loading or discharging cargoes.
“The new concurrent bunkering service is in line with Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s directive to improve port efficiency,” Vopak said in a statement on Tuesday.
The service eliminates the time needed to move tankers calling at the Sebarok terminal to designated anchorages in Singapore’s congested waters for refueling, also known as bunkering.
Prior to this, tanker vessels were required to sail to the anchorage to receive their bunkers, the Dutch oil and chemicals storage company said.
Citing safety concerns, oil and gas tankers have been restricted to taking bunker fuels at designated anchorages in Singapore, a Singapore-based bunker trader said.
Increased concurrent bunkering at some of the city-state’s oil terminals could help ease congestion in its waterways, which are some of the busiest in the world.
Singapore is the world’s largest marine refueling hub, selling on average 4.2 million tonnes of bunker fuels to more than 3,400 vessels each month this year.
Vopak’s concurrent bunkering service is the result of collaboration with BW Pacific, Sinanju Marine Services, and Unicore Fuel, the company said, and will be progressively expanded to its other terminals in Singapore.
Vopak’s Sebarok oil terminal has 79 storage tanks with a total capacity of 7.94 million barrels and nine berths for vessels, according to the company’s website.
Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Reporting by Roslan Khasawneh; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath