Mass Flow Meters in Singapore Proving to be Five Times More Accurate Than Official Error Margin

Tuesday December 20, 2016

Real word usage of mass flow meters (MFMs) for bunkering in Singapore has shown the technology to be five times more accurate than the official margin of error, local bunker players have told Ship & Bunker.

With the technology set to become mandatory for MFO bunkering in Singapore from January 1, 2017, almost all fuel oil barges with a license to operate in Singapore now have an approved MFM system installed.

Officially, all Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) approved mass flow meters have an "uncertainty measurement" of 0.5 percent, which can be a positive or negative, but feedback from some local players suggests in real world use the meters are proving to be accurate to within 0.10 percent or better.

Some players have even told Ship & Bunker the averages for their meter in and meter out readings are as low as 0.04 percent or better.

With the average stem in Singapore around 1,100 metric tonnes, this suggests a "typical" error of just +/- 4 to 11 mt.

This is not to say that all suppliers are seeing this level of accuracy, and buyers in Singapore naturally must accept the official guideline of 0.5 percent.

"In general the accuracy for bunkering with MFM is very good and so far I have heard or seen very good comments from Container Carriers and VLCCs players," Simon Neo, Executive Director, Piroj International, told Ship & Bunker.

"A supplier I was talking to this afternoon said they have noticed that quantity claims have dropped significantly since they started using MFM about four months ago."

Perhaps inevitably, Ship & Bunker understands there have now been some quantity disputes involving MFMs, but Neo agrees that "overall the feedback is very good."

"For customers who took bunkers using MFM the numbers of complaints are very small as compared to those not using MFM."