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African Ports See Higher Refueling Demand as Vessels Round Cape

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January 18, 2024

(Bloomberg) —

African ports from Namibia to Mauritius are becoming more popular as refueling stops for vessels shunning security threats in the Red Sea

The Namibian port of Walvis Bay or Port Louis in Mauritius are “top options” for filling up if there’s a need en route, shipping giant A.P. Moller – Maersk A/S said in a reply to questions. The company still prefers to bunker at the start or end of a route.

Walvis Bay — located along coastal sand dunes in Namibia — is a convenient stop because it requires minimal deviation by shipping lines, according to Simone Piredda, a senior trader at Monjasa. Initially, it was mainly container lines re-routing around the Cape of Good Hope, but they have been followed by tankers, bulkers and other cargo vessels.

Those detours come at a cost: going the long way around Africa can add roughly 5,000 miles to voyages.

Trafigura’s TFG Marine advertises on its website that it’s “on hand to provide fuel supplies to all vessels diverted from the Suez Canal,” and lists operations in Walvis Bay and Algoa Bay in South Africa. 

“TFG Marine continues to serve its clients in East, West and South Africa,” a spokesperson for the company said in an emailed reply, while declining to comment on volume projections.

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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