Digital products may be able to increase the efficiency of the bunker industry. File Image / Pixabay
Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and changing working practices to adapt to it have led to the bunker putting off its much-needed push towards digitalization, according to Japan's Toyota Tsusho.
"Amid the rising necessity for workstyle reforms and the building of non-contact and non-face-to-face logistics systems toward productivity improvement and the maintenance and strengthening of international competitiveness, the delay of digitalization in the bunkering industry has become an issue," the company said in a statement on its website last week.
"In Japan, there remains commercial practices such as the placing of orders via telephone or facsimile and the creation of delivery notes by hand onboard ships.
"A lot of time is therefore required to process documents and verify coherence."
Toyota Tsusho is launching a blockchain-based bunker ordering platform, BunkerNote, from June of this year.
"The introduction of this service allows online processing of everything from the placing of orders for fuel to the confirmation of deliveries and the issuance and receipt of invoices," the company said.
"Relevant parties are able to share progress in real time, and tasks that have been necessary so far -- such as the sending and storage of documents, verifying the coherence of information, and transfer of data by manual entry -- will no longer be needed.
"This allows significant reduction in the time taken for work related to bunkering orders.
"In addition, data integrity is guaranteed by using blockchains to register information of transactions regarding bunkering orders."
The service will cost 50,000 yen ($459) per month for its users, plus 500 yen per transaction when transactions per month exceed 50.