The bunkering business, like many other industry sectors, has been affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. West Indies Petroleum (WIP) – a diversified Petroleum products company based in Kingston, Jamaica with operations in bunkering, retail fuel sales and bulk regional distribution – has seen mixed results during this period. However, the team has quickly and effectively utilized the time to strengthen the company from an operational perspective and entered into a long-term exclusive supply agreement with bp.
WIP’s agreement with bp will introduce a new level of service for WIP in both the bunker industry as well as the distribution of fuel to other countries in the Caribbean and Central America. WIP has the opportunity to supply different product lines outside the bunker industry and its agreement with bp provides WIP with the products necessary to raise the bar of WIP capabilities to grow the business locally and regionally.
A bold move amidst the pandemic some would say, but through this agreement, WIP, as a renewed and reinvigorated company, is focused on making Jamaica a bunkering destination. This employment of WIP’s assets will positively contribute to improving reliability, maintaining the highest quality and of course providing the best priced solution in the space of operation. WIP’s Commercial Manager, Dearbhla Kieran stated, “Overall, WIP feels good about where we are now based on the results of the company. WIP has navigated the switch to IMO 2020 very successfully and the company is in a position whereby we are able to provide quality products to the Jamaican bunker market.”
Though the company has seen mixed results during this period of the pandemic, they continue to do well and are prepared for a post-COVID world that they are very optimistic about. Their current challenges include the complete halt of the cruise business in Jamaica as well as an initial dampening effect on the container shipping business at the beginning of the pandemic back in early March.
Since then, the container business has begun to stabilize and it is projected that it will continue to grow as the world becomes more informed on how to live and operate with the virus. As for the cruise business, it is expected that ‘new normal’ operation will restart in the coming months and with the current plans in place, WIP will be uniquely positioned to satisfy the demands of that industry when it does – supplying all the vessels coming to Jamaica with the products that the cruise shipping industry requires.
As a company with a diversified stream of revenues, WIP has also had positive results from the current environment. Kieran also shared that the company on a whole has fared well during the pandemic. She added “We are incredibly optimistic about WIP’s prospects in the medium term. Operationally, with our fleet of barges, expipe facilities and storage terminals there is no equal to WIP in Jamaica. Our agreement with bp gives us access to reliable products that we did not have before and that makes us very confident about our ability to satisfy the needs of the cruise and container industry going forward for vessels that call Jamaica or for those wishing to take bunkers only. WIP maintains stock of VLSFO, HSFO, ULSD, LSD and HSD and through our exclusive agreement with bp we will be able to reliably supply all customers at the volumes and prices necessary to truly make Jamaica a bunkering destination going forward.”
Despite the current climate, WIP continues to grow and over the next 10 years, in alignment with its strategy, the company will focus on growing assets in the region and providing a strong structure for regional product supply. WIP prides itself on its Caribbean heritage and aims to make a difference for Jamaica and the region with the support of the bp resources, experience and tools to make it happen.