The envisaged bunkering service will form a major portion of the activities in the MRMR Port. The targeted traffic will be vessels passing the south coast of Sri Lanka traversing the major East West shipping route which was historically the “ocean silk road”.
The tank farm constructed in the vicinity of the port, will be directly connected to the two oil berths and will facilitate oil importation, strong and blending, and help the bunkering operations planned to develop at the port, presently, commissioning work is being done and full commissioning of the facility, bunker supply for vessels could either be obtained directly from the oil berths or through offshore bunkering vessels.
Sold over 31,000 metric tonnes of fuel to 82 foreign ships as part of its marine fuel bunkering operations. MRMR Port facilitating three main bunkers, Fuel oil 180 CST, 380 CST and marine gas oil.
Apart from the bunkering fuels, the tank farm has the capacity to store aviation fuel requirement for the Rajapaksa International Airport, Mattala and LP gas requirement of the Southern province and adjoining provinces. Initially, aviation fuel will be transported through trucks from the tank farm, while dedicated pipelines are proposed in the long run.
The tank farm owned by SLPA consists of 14 tanks and eight of them are used by the SLPA for bunkering.Three tanks have been leased out to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPA) for aviation fuel to be supplied to the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport and the other three tanks have been leased out to Litro Gas company for LP gas storage and they have been already commissioned. The 14 tanks will also have an overall capacity of 80,000 cubic meters. The bunkering capacity at the port is 51,000 cubic metres and the capacity for aviation and LP Gas is 23,000 cubic metres and 6,000 cubic metres.
The SLPA has invested $ 76 million in the tank farm and bunkering infrastructure that includes offshore bunkering facilities. The project was financed by a $ 65 million loan from China EXIM bank and remaining by the SLPA.
Being close to the main sea route, the bunkering facility at Hambantota will be an added advantage to attract East bound vessels. This facility ships could optimize cargo load and added that it would help increase cargo to the port. Sri Lanka could promote the multi-model hub by offering sea and air services to the world. Bunkering will be a landmark achievement in the country's shipping industry and with this facility it will be easy to market it internationally.