Gov’t Expands Maritime Economy with New Bunkering Project

The Maldives will begin construction on a significant new bunkering facility in Ihavandhippolhu around June, according to the Economic Minister. The project aims to expand the Maldives’ economic base, currently heavily reliant on tourism, and tap into the lucrative maritime sector.

In an interview with TRT World, Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed outlined efforts to diversify the economy, including investments in the digital, financial, and maritime industries. A key element of this strategy is the development of bunkering services, providing fuel to ships at sea.

- Advertisement -

Minister Saeed highlighted a March agreement between the Maldives’ State Trading Organization (STO) and Vitol, a leading global energy trader, to establish the bunkering project. “That is a new economic activity that hasn’t been done at this scale in the country,” he remarked.

Construction of the bunkering facility is anticipated to commence in June, with Vitol expected to begin operations simultaneously. The project will proceed in two phases: off-port bunkering, leveraging the Maldives’ archipelagic geography to fuel ships at sea, followed by the construction of a physical port to support more extensive operations.

Addressing potential competition from regional hubs like Singapore and Sri Lanka, Minister Saeed acknowledged their presence but emphasized the Maldives’ strategic location along popular sea lanes. “We believe that by partnering with the right people, we can capture some of the bunkering market,” he stated, indicating the goal is to enhance economic diversity rather than directly compete with existing facilities.

- Advertisement -