Iran is in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea which has made the Strait of Hormuz the crossing passage of a large number of commercial vessels and tankers, MANA correspondent reported.
However, Iran has suffered great losses due to the sanctions against commercial and industrial vessels in previous years and the impracticability of the presence of vessels to refuel on the shores and waters of the country.
Fortunately, the authorities of the public and private sectors of the country were not disappointed and followed the creation of appropriate infrastructures with the aid of long-term planning, which is achieved with their forethought. Moreover, public and private companies and organizations’ interactions including Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines with 60% of shares, Qeshm Free Zone Organization with 25% of shares and National Iranian Tanker Company with 15% of shares, made them venture into the construction of a bunkering site in “Salakh”. This place is one of the areas with heavy traffic of commercial and oil vessels, which is located in the southwest of Qeshm Island. The companies could allocate a significant share of this lucrative industry to the country with the application of measured and targeted planning as well as public and private sectors’ interactions. In addition to providing bunkering services for vessels and eliminating 130 miles of distance to the port of Fujairah, Qeshm Star Bunkering & Shipping Services Co. has also provided other services including maintenance, transport of ship’s crew, welfare, recreation and beach services which result in the promotion of economic level and sustainable development of the region. in an exclusive interview with MANA correspondent ,Managing Director of Qeshm Star Bunkering & Shipping Services Co., Mr. Ahmad Sarkandi, discussed the advantages and capabilities of this complex in detail:
MANA: What is the reason behind the establishment of Qeshm Star Bunkering & Shipping Services Co. in the southwest region of Qeshm Island?
- The Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz are the traffic zones of most of the great vessels, such that approximately 55 to 60 thousand vessels pass through this area per year. A massive part of these vessels have different requirements including fuel receipt. Currently, the requirements of these vessels are provided through the United Arab Emirates and Fujairah Ports, however, they have to take 130 miles of detour and travel toward the north of the Persian Gulf to get fuel and then return to this path to get back on the main path. There is an area called “Salakh” in the southwest of Qeshm Island which was appointed by the government cabinet as the strategic area of bunkering and it was assigned to be the bunkering site of the vessels. Qeshm Star Bunkering & Shipping Services Co. was established in this area for the mentioned reasons in 2008.
MANA: Which companies are the major shareholders of this site?
- Currently, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, Qeshm Free Zone Organization and National Iranian Tanker Company are the major shareholders of this corporate.
MANA: Based on the planning, when will the first phase of this complex be exploited?
- According to the plans, the first phase of the site is supposed to be exploited in November. By that time more than 95% of this phase, including offshore sector, reservoirs, oil pipeline, fuel pumps that are designated to transport the fuel, instrumentation system, electricity, control room, and fire suppression system will be prepared.
MANA: What is the fuel storage capacity in the first phase?
- The first phase of this company wherein the fuel service is provided, consists of ten 5260 -ton tanks and totally has 52 thousand and 600 tons of storage capacity, having the capability of increasing its turnover with the presence of different vessels to get fuel in the near future. Considering the facilities of this phase, this company could approximately provide two millions of tons of fuel per year.
MANA: What is the most important advantage of the launch of the Qeshm Star Bunkering & Shipping Services Co.?
- Reducing the distance and improving the quality of fuel is the most important advantage of this company. In the first phase of the complex, the required fuel to be delivered to the bunkering vessels and those vessels that pass through south of Qeshm Island, could go through a slight detour which is fewer than four miles and reach the harbor and get the required fuel. Therefore, they do not have to travel a distance of 130 miles to the port of Fujairah to acquire the fuel needed. On the other hand, Iran’s fuel quality is higher than the fuel provided by the United Arab Emirates Ports. These two advantages are very important and valuable for vessels because due to the high costs running ships, traveling such a distance just to get fuel and services, besides requiring more than one day, do not have any economical justification. In addition, Qeshm Island is a very big island and is located in a special zone in the Persian Gulf and it will witness further development in the near future according to the actions and planning carried out. So, the establishment of such a site is essential for the region more than ever.
MANA: What companies from IRISL Group will be the pioneers in this development plan?
- Considering the negotiations carried out with Kheybar Shipping Co., it was decided that the mentioned company to set up equipment and facilities in the area in line with the Qeshm Star Bunkering & Shipping Services Co. goals so that it enables us to provide the requirements of other vessels such as spare parts and marine oils along with bunkering to meet all the necessities of the vessels.
MANA: What other services will be provided in this region besides bunkering?
- According to the plans, it is predicted that a club of naval personnel, shopping centers and hotel will be constructed in the next phases so that when the vessels are docked and the crew wants to get off, they can make use of the existing facilities and as there is no need for visa, the transportation of this ship’s crew or officers could be easily done and they can easily travel to Dubai and other destinations via the region’s airport.
MANA: How many phases does Salakh bunkering site have? What services will be provided in the future?
- Salakh of Qeshm bunkering site has in total three phases, in the second phase, the tankers’ capacity will reach 500 thousand tons, whereas in the third phase, the storage capacity will reach 750 thousand tons. The offshore of this complex has two breakwaters, approximately 70 percent of which has already been constructed. The length of the main breakwater is 1650m and at the moment, 1200m of the breakwater has been completed. The second breakwater is 600 meters length, 400 meters of which is constructed and a calm basin will be built within it. Moreover, two berths next to the main breakwater and five ones alongside the hinterland of the calm basin will be built. These berths are constructed for the use of different vessels at the time of maintenance and service. It is worth mentioning that in the second phase the construction of the breakwaters and a berth with the capacity of ten thousand tons as well as a berth with the capacity of 35 thousand tons next to them, will be finished within the next ten months.
MANA: When will the construction of breakwaters come to end?
- The construction of breakwaters will have finished in the first half of 2017 and two berths will have been built on these breakwaters. The second phase of this project is dedicated to increasing the capacity in which related economic studies have been done and we hope the plans for its construction and installmint will be carried out according to the schedule.
MANA: How are the financial resources of the company funded? Except for major shareholders, are there any foreign investors ready to cooperate for the completion of the other two phases?
- To this day, funding of the Qeshm Star Bunkering & Shipping Services Co. has been provided by the shareholders. However, local and foreign investors have announced their readiness to invest in the next phases and the company is examining their proposals so as to find the most appropriate mechanism, where possible.