FFS Marine, a division of FFS Refiners, a South African entity majority-owned by Calulo Investments, has launched a new service supplying intermediate fuels and distillates ex-pipe and ex-truck in Cape Town.
Ex-pipe deliveries were once the norm in Cape Town harbour but in recently years all but ceased due to poor pipeline maintenance, the prohibitive cost of repair and increasing reliance on barge delivery. However, barge delivery is not possible for some of the smaller vessels, including many of the deep-sea fishing fleets which lately have been refuelling elsewhere, particularly in Port Louis, Mauritius, which has captured a considerable volume from Cape Town, partly because if offers ex-pipe deliveries. Now, however, the fightback to regain lost volume might be underway.
FFS Refiners was established more than 44 years ago to process and supply a variety of liquid hydrocarbon products, including industrial fuel oils, base oils and bunker fuels, and to provide waste recovery and tank terminal services. Earlier this year, it launched its marine division to focus on bunker supply in Cape Town.
FFS owns and operates a 33,000 cubic metre (cbm) petroleum products tank farm and blending plant located on the Eastern Mole of the Port of Cape Town. It operates 19 storage tanks, of which five are used for automotive diesel fuel, one for bitumen and one for slops. Twelve tanks are used for bunker fuels, of which five, totalling around 8,000 cbm, are for distillates and seven tanks, totalling some 5,000 cbm, are used to store fuel oil.
The facility has a gantry for truck loading, for inland and marine deliveries, and a pipeline system for marine deliveries. Over the past month or so, FFS Marine has supplied bunker fuel to fishing vessels, a super yacht, patrol vessels and to a drill vessel, both by truck and ex-pipe, with ex-pipe deliveries the preferred, faster, option, especially for larger volumes. The smallest delivery to date, by truck, has been for 30 mt, while the largest has been for 2,400 mt of gasoil to a drilling vessel.
Sales are currently made via bunker traders such as SABT, Cockett Marine Oil, Amoil and World Fuel Services.
According to Marine Manager Sharon Rassie, FFS had previously been supplying 80 centiStoke (cSt) fuel (a fuel oil - gasoil blend) to fishing fleets for around five years, but now is able to provide a wider selection of products. The hope is that the wider choice of fuels and the greater flexibility offered by ex-pipe and truck deliveries, will attract back some of the business that has migrated elsewhere in recent years, including to Algoa Bay, offshore Port Elizbeth.
The FFS operation is not yet set up to supply 0.50% sulphur fuels as may be required post-2020, partly because there remains some doubt as to whether the local Chevon refinery, or the other refineries in South Africa, will be in a position to produce any ultra low sulphur fuels. If needed, FFS Marine will import these fuels and blend and store them at their Cape Town facility.
For now, FFS Marine is able to supply marine gasoil (MGO) DMA as per ISO 8217:2010 and ECA compliant low sulphur gasoil (LS MGO) DMA as per ISO 8217:2010, a blended IFO 80 and MFO 180 (RMG 180) ex-pipe and by truck.