Algorithm Bunker Buying Tool Promises Optimal Results

Monday November 12, 2018

Danish software company BunkerMetric has a new product available called Bunker Planner.

The idea, which has reached the prototype stage, is to provide an internet-based or stand alone tool capable of making optimal bunker buying decisions.

"It's not in place of the bunker buying function but rather to support it," developer Christian Plum told Ship & Bunker at the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) conference in Copenhagen.

The tool uses algorithms to correlate the data that forms the basis of a bunker buying decision.

To illustrate his point, Plum said that if a ship on route through the Baltic Sea can see that bunkers are cheaper in St Petersburg, Bunker Planner can assess the cost of the deviation to the Russian port compared to buying more expensive bunkers offshore Great Belt where deviation would be unnecessary.

In addition, Plum believes that bunker procurement planning is about to become a whole lot more complicated.

"In just over a year's time, the market will become multi-fuel."  Solving the problem of supply uncertainties, a range of fuel grades and changing patterms in geographic price spreads is "well suited to algorithms".

"Fuel procurement planning is an ideal task for a computer," he said.

A Bunker Planner prototype algorithm, which belongs to BunkerMetric, is in place and there are three pilot schemes in play with large European tanker operators.

The tool uses Ship & Bunker bunker prices and has Marine 20|20 as its commercial partner. The project is supporting by the Danish Maritime Fund.

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