Know Your Counter Party: KPI Bridge Oil

Thursday May 25, 2017

KPI Bridge Oil is one of marine fuel's oldest bunker brokers and traders, having been in the bunker business since 1971. Through combination of growth and acquisitions, today the company has nine offices located across the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

"While KPI Bridge Oil is a well-known bunkering company, many do not know how it came into its current form," says Brian Coyne, Managing Director, KPI Bridge Americas.

"At the core of KPI Bridge Oil is a maritime heritage which few bunkering companies possess.  Many of the employees have been to sea or have worked in other areas of the marine industry. With some of the longest tenured employees in the business, KPI Bridge Oil provides clients with knowledge unavailable from other bunker firms."

Ship & Bunker recently spoke to Coyne as part of our Know Your Counter Party series to learn more about the company's past, present, and future plans.

S&B - Tell us about the history of KPI Bridge Oil.

KPI Bridge Oil as it's known today, was formed from a merger of KPI Oil Associates, Bridge Oil and Davies and Newman Wake in 2007.  The relationship first began in the early 2000's when KPI Oil Associates and Bridge Oil created a strategic marketing alliance where the companies remained independent from one another but utilized one another's strengths in their respective markets.

KPI Oil Associates having focused on the Americas naturally covered this region with Bridge Oil focusing on the rest of the world. 

Adding the well-known brokering firm Davies and Newman Wake to Bridge Oil was an excellent complement as KPI Oil Associates was more focused on brokering than trading. KPI Oil Associates was established in 1971 and has remained a leading broker and trader for more than 45 years

Bridge Oil started operations in 1979 as cargo trader and later entered the marine fuels market.  Davies and Newman Wake, a marine services company dating back to 1922 covered various areas including chartering, agency and bunkers.  Once these organizations became integrated additional offices were added in Seattle, Valparaiso and Miami.  In 2015 the company acquired A/S Trumf Bunker and continued its organic growth by opening in Athens

By 2016 the market had shifted and consolidation in the container markets necessitated the closure of the Valparaiso office and another merger as KTB Oil in South Korea was brought into the KPI Bridge Oil Group.  In 2016 KPI Bridge Oil also introduced physical supply in Esbjerg, a strategic supply location in Denmark.  A book could easily be written covering the full history of this organization which incubated numerous leaders of the marine fuel market.

S&B - Tell us about KPI Bridge Oil today.

The nine offices in KPI Bridge Oil; Athens, Denmark, Istanbul, London, Miami, New York, Seattle, Singapore and South Korea employ over 90 marine professionals and as a group run a lean bunker and lubricant service company with global coverage.  Well positioned in the market KPI Bridge Oil has credit with nearly every source of marine fuels in the world.  This credit availability has allowed KPI Bridge Oil to thrive in its core back to back trading business. While each office maintains its unique customer group, it's also responsible for strategic supply and keeping KPI Bridge Oil's competitiveness in the market with supply contracts that are second to none.

As a privately-owned company KPI Bridge Oil has the flexibility to provide tailored solutions to each individual client's needs and use a single set of purchase terms that govern transactions globally.  This is just one method in which KPI Bridge Oil provides risk mitigation and management to clients' fleets. KPI Bridge Oil offers a Fuel Partnership concept which enables buyers to outsource their bunker purchasing in return for market leading expertise and full transparency, giving clients another way to save money, mitigate risks and enjoy peace of mind. Additional risk mitigation is provided by the fact that KPI Bridge Oil does not pledge its invoices to third parties.  KPI Bridge Oil is a financially sound partner that does not finance its business on the back of clients, but instead maintains healthy equity allowing first class banks to provide substantial backing to the organization. Traditional hedging tools are available to clients to facilitate financial risk management as well as currency foreign exchange services. 

Global lubricants is an area where KPI Bridge Oil sees a lot of interest from clients and suppliers.  KPI Bridge Oil has contracts around the world and while do not intend to compete with the majors, has the ability to provide spot lubricants and fleet contracts to smaller players which might not always see how they fit into the system of a major.  In a difficult shipping market, KPI Bridge Oil has continued to add value and offer a wide range of services to stakeholders and business partners.

Through annual donations to various causes such as Make-a-Wish, Wounded Warrior and Kings Point Blue and Gray to name a few, KPI Bridge Oil is a socially responsible organization.

S&B - What is KPI Bridge Oil's vision for the future?

At KPI Bridge Oil we do not see our business model changing dramatically in the future. Although we continually look for further opportunities to better serve clients, new ventures which may add to our back to back bunker trading and brokering continues to be a key service, it is impossible for local suppliers in Port Moresby to know and trust a three-ship company from Puerto Plata

We anticipate data and consolidation to facilitate change in the markets in the medium term but for now, KPI Bridge Oil is working on a number of strategies and solutions for clients in relation to the upcoming 2020 Sulphur regulations. We expect a multi-tiered market with clients requiring varying Sulphur levels including for example high Sulphur fuel oil, a hybrid fuel oil or distillate. 

KPI Bridge Oil is well positioned with additional capital available for the anticipated increase in prices required for higher quality fuels.  KPI Bridge Oil is also looking at niche physical supply ports and suppliers that may look for a reputable and a financially strong partner with marine expertise. 

The only certainty for the future is that the marine fuel markets will continue to change - KPI Bridge Oil has been managing change for more than 45 years and is your responsive, maritime partner.