Global ship agency and offshore marine service provider GAC has set up a supply base in Galle to support ship-to-ship (STS) services.
The move, by GAC's in-house ship-to-ship transfer unit GAC Transfer Services (GTS), was in response to growing demand for LPG (liquid petroleum gas) imports and exports of clean products in the Indian Subcontinent.
Ship-to-ship (STS) equipment such as fenders and hoses will be stored at GAC's base in the southern port of Galle, ready to be transported by tug to different locations according to demand and conditions, a company statement said.
Lars Bergstrom, GAC Group Vice President - Indian Subcontinent, said the choice of Sri Lanka as the regional base for STS operations would help ship operators avoid incurring high costs or getting caught up in red tape.
"India is a very important market with growing demand for STS, but there are logistical issues due to bureaucracy and high costs of locating there," he said.
"Thanks to its proximity to that market, and its key geographical position close to major east-west shipping lanes, Sri Lanka was a natural choice for the expansion of STS services to the region."
The main commodities handled include LPG, crude oil, fuel oil and gas oils.
Most operations will be carried out 'Off Port Limits' (OPL) without any port authority intervention, GAC said.
The end of the island's 30-year ethnic war in 2009 and later removal of a war risk rating by London-based insurers opened the way for the expansion of GAC's STS operations, it said.
The new service complements existing services such as ship agency, bunker supplies and the ship supply service.