The port of Kochi is witnessing a surge in the sale of bunkers, with the month of March recording a volume of 11,000 tonnes against the usual monthly volumes ranging between 6,000 and 8,000 tonnes, according to a press release from the Cochin Port Trust. “This is an indication that shipping line(s) now prefer Cochin more and more as a bunkering destination in comparison with competing South Asian ports,” the press release said.

Sources in one of the oil marketing companies in the bunkering business here said the month was a particularly good one and pointed to a lot of churning in the bunkering business globally.

Bunker sales this year has particularly been helped by the arrival of two large barges on the scene in Kochi. The barges are available for hire for the bunker suppliers and the start of the business here back in 2012 saw it being straddled by poor barge availability.

Another reason for Kochi becoming attractive is the quality of the fuel, which meets international standards with sulphur content less than 3.5 per cent. The presence of the source refinery in Kochi has aided in building confidence in the quality of the fuel.

The release from the port authority said the market feedback augured well for the quality of bunkers supplied from Kochi and the rates, which were lesser than the prevailing rates in Colombo.