Coastal shipping along India’s east coast grinding to a halt on lack of VLSFO

The IMO 2020 regulation has its first global trade scalp with news from south Asia where coastal shipping operations along India’s eastern coast risk grinding to a halt later this week due to the scarcity of low sulphur fuel oil.

“There is virtually no supply of low sulphur fuel oil and all the coastal ships including the feeder container vessels plying between Indian ports on the east coast will come to a standstill from this week as soon as they exhaust whatever little stock they had,” a top executive with a shipping company told the local Hindu BusinessLine today.

The looming fuel shortage was discussed in a tripartite meeting last week between government, refiners and owners.

India had repeatedly said last year it might not be in a position to comply with the global sulphur cap regulations, which started on January 1.

The situation on the west coast is better, the Hindu Business Line newspaper stated, due to the availability of the fuel in Kandla and Cochin for most coastal ships.

Splash is waiting for comment from a number of local feeder operators to confirm the fuel scarcity on the east coast.

Other nations have also hinted at a lack of available VLSFO in recent months, most notably the Philippines.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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