Bunker vessel operators at Rotterdam now require a licence. File Image / Pixabay
Rotterdam's new bunker licensing system has launched with 28 registered barge operators to date.
The new system -- licensing bunker barge operators at Rotterdam, Schiedam, Vlaardingen, Dordrecht, Zwijndrecht and Papendrecht -- came into force on February 1.
Some 24 licences were awarded prior to the launch, and four more since then, a representative of the Port of Rotterdam told Ship & Bunker on Tuesday.
Having 28 barge operators registered shortly after the launch points to a significantly more crowded market than that of Singapore, the world's largest bunkering hub. Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority lists 45 suppliers covering a market with roughly five times Rotterdam's annual sales volume.
The port authority plans to publish a list of all the companies shortly.
Commenting on the launch of the scheme, industry group IBIA said it had "taken inspiration from the success of bunker licensing schemes in Singapore and Gibraltar in reducing disputes."
"While its initial licence is less comprehensive, it will be up for review and may be adapted."
Singapore has operated a licensing scheme for all bunker suppliers and barge operators in its waters for several years, and other port authorities are increasingly looking to emulate it to raise standards in the bunker industry.
Rotterdam's new licences will be awarded for two years, and a review of the system is expected before the end of the first two-year period.