Bunker Technology: This is What You Need to Know About ClearLynx

by Steve Leonard, VP of Business Development, ClearLynx LLC
Wednesday January 27, 2016

"It's not a Faith in Technology. It's Faith in People."

The global shipping industry is on a mission to change how marine fuels are purchased. Buyers are better informed and their procurement strategies make use of far more extensive data sets than ever before. To be fair, procurement risks haven't changed much over time, but visibility into the supply chain is dramatically different today. This is due in large part to technology driven by interconnected goals of increased revenue at improved costs, with a laser like attention to minimizing risk.

Buyers and sellers have become far more technologically connected through cloud-based tools that provide greater visibility into the procurement process. While this awareness might make decisions more transparent, there are still challenges: how decisions are made and how tactical opportunities are evaluated today demand greater data analysis capabilities in order to achieve greater procurement alertness.

Supply shifts - the result of consolidations, mergers and acquisitions - along with recent and unfortunate events like the collapse of OW, are transforming the marine fuels industry. Buyers face a new set of decision points based on the availability of information as well as the impact and risks not only to their business but also to their counterparties.

There is little recognition for the dedication, investment and risk involved in operating a physical bunker supply operation. Whereas once major oil companies dominated the marine fuel market because they owned the refineries, barges and terminals, today, a few large players who own little or no assets dominate the market; they have transformed the industry into a ubiquitous and commoditized play that has suppressed margins and done little to recognize the risks involved across the whole supply chain.

In his book "Putts Law and Successful Technocrat" (1981) Archibald Putts (using a pseudonym for obvious reasons) proposes two types of individuals: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand. It follows then that disruptive technologies invite misconceptions of what a product is or is not and, in line with Putts Law, this is by design. So it goes here, because ClearLynx is not an auction platform, it is not a buyer, it is not a seller, it is not a trader and it is not a broker. In fact, it encourages all participants to join and interact. There's more: ClearLynx is not 'transparent' - all offers, negotiations, agreements, communications, documents are confidential between the buyer and the seller.

Simply put, ClearLynx does not attempt to change how buyers and sellers conduct their business: it creates efficiencies, operational improvements and enhanced visibility. The result inevitably is increased workflow productivity and overall cost reductions. With its neutral cloud based application platform, ClearLynx offers buyers and sellers a podium to transact more efficiently using a single, fully secured repository enabling a complete audit trail with procedural checks and balances and customized reporting capabilities.

Why should buyers and sellers join ClearLynx? Here are just a few reasons to consider:


  1. Efficiency: With fleet data and company details preloaded into a fully secure environment, Buyers can send out inquiries instantaneously to any port and to any seller around the world. They can do so using a web and a mobile based application.
  2. Planning: Access to real-time pricing in over 100 ports with the use of sophisticated pricing tools (RSI, ARB, MACD) available through ClearView (free with ClearLynx contract) allow for optimizing purchasing and scheduling.
  3. Seamless process: Intuitive, synchronous bid/ask dashboard, single click confirmations, streamlined data transmission come with a complete audit trail stored and accessible by users with different access levels (as determined by the company), to prevent non-permitted usage of the site.
  4. Benchmarking: Full data capture (along with the ability to upload historic data) allow benchmarking by ship, port, or grade, and the ability to mine for trends and maintain scorecards through cutting edge reporting capabilities.
  5. Compliance: Complete audit trail ensures conformance to internal policies, standards and relevant local and international laws and regulations.


  1. Enterprise:  As a SaaS (Software as a Service) product, ClearLynx collects, stores, manages and interprets data from many activities, including planning, cost, and service delivery. With the platform's powerful features, sellers can form their own in-house single repository for inquiry management, paperwork, and notifications along with a centralized claims management, performance analytics and customized reporting.
  2. Visibility: By populating their profile page with contact information, pictures, capabilities and descriptive narratives, T&C, electronic brochures, sellers can expand their reach not otherwise possible without significant costs.
  3. Productivity: Instantaneous documentation, invoicing and delivery notes, all communicated seamlessly through active dashboards create in house and back office efficiencies.
  4. Risk Management: Sellers can increase the number of channels through which they receive inquiries which translates into more inquiries from more customers, improved fixing rates, and increased margins, with the net result of spreading exposure over a broader customer base. Sellers can implement and monitor an integrated approach to business problems by creating decision matrices to determine optimum counterparty risk and better asset utilization.

The headline above is attributed to none other than Steve Jobs. In line with this, ClearLynx recognizes that no amount of technology and data will replace rigorous, flexible and imaginative human thought. This should encourage all stakeholders to participate, experience and support what is a transformative moment in the industry.

Supply risks are increasing in complexity. Understanding these risks and what to do with more nuanced data and risk management scenarios quickly become a significant challenge in and of themselves. Add to this all the movable parts of the complex marine fuels supply chain and one can rapidly recognize the need for responsive procurement strategies that properly balance all of these variables.

ClearLynx meets this need.