Is Your Bunker Platform Ready for IMO2020?

by Paul Hardy, NSI
Monday January 21, 2019

There's lots of change coming due to IMO2020 and of course much has been written about that. But I think one thing that has not received a lot of attention is whether folks have the right bunker buying platform in place.

Bunker pricing is going to be very uncertain, making bunker buying performance monitoring a lot more important. It is also expected that there will be a growing number of claims issues, along with a general need for compliance and auditing.

As NSI recently went through the process of making sure the platform we are using is ready for the post-2020 world, I now share here some potential scenarios for next year to help you decide if you're ready too:

Scenario 1: Sample tests at 0.54%

With you current internal platform:

  1. Can you prove you have ordered 0.5% product?
  2. Can you log centrally test results and retests?
  3. Can you monitor supplier performance over time?
  4. Can you look back at the ordering process and view all docs including specs before loading?
  5. Can you produce BDN with Sulphur % and supplier name etc of supply in question.
  6. Can you produce sample no to authorities and supplier to show right legal or representative sample tested
  7. Can you show an audit trail to a 3rdparty i.e. port authority if necessary?
  8. Can you assist the head owner if you are the time charterer and need to advise head owner of all your efforts to keep vessel in compliance to regulations and c/p clauses.

In addition to the above questions our platform will give an audit trail to show the following steps if fuel has been retested and is still off spec:

  1. Audit trail of steps taken if fuel has to be removed from ship if compliant fuel in port or if at sea fuel replenishment  in next port.
  2. Audit tail that supplier has been notified
  3. Audit trail that port state authorities notified of off spec fuel on board
  4. Audit trail detailing plans to refuel with compliant oil next port.

Scenario 2: 0.5% Product is on spec but is it compatible with what is already on board?

Using your current platform how easy is it to do the following:

  1. Can you check historic order profile of the vessel?
  2. Can you quickly/efficiently compare different samples?

Scenario 3:  Your vessel is on t/c to another company

Historically you would not be involved in the bunkering but with IMO changes and compliance being the responsibility of the vessel:

  1. Can you monitor what is being ordered?
  2. On behalf of T/C can your use of your system assist vessel with the bunker ordering process?
  3. Can you assist vessel with providing the BDN?
  4. Can you prove they have ordered compliant product?

4th scenario: You could not find compliant fuel to complete voyage to next port

This is a new problem which looking at the experience of previous ECA's will be a real one come IMO2020:

  1. Can you show forward planning to show effort to get compliant fuel?
  2. Can you show audit of all suppliers covered and responses back on "no "with compliant oil with comments?
  3. Can you prove port has no compliant fuel or one did not cover all suppliers and or spec on blend not compatible with fuel on board risking incompatibility?

Ultimately, last year NSI decided to switch to using ClearLynx as it gives us the opportunity to forensically study individual stems as well as monitor our own performance. The benefits of the platform will also be seen by our clients come IMO2020: by using NSI we can simply deal with all of the above questions on your behalf giving you a traceable, compliant and detailed audit trail when needed of all of your orders.

We are also able to aggregate data across buyers to monitor supplier performance, claims ratios, product availability. This gives you an up to date external view of the market which you cannot get by working alone.