IBIA Releases Bunker Suppliers' Best Practice Guide

Wednesday April 4, 2018

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has released the first edition of a bunker suppliers' best practice guide.

"Best practice guidance for suppliers for assuring the quality of bunkers delivered to ships" has been developed in response to a call from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), says IBIA, adding it is the first time such an undertaking has been made.

Items covered by the guide include:

  • Quality control during production of bunkers
  • Quality control in the supply chain
  • Cargo transport, storage and transfer
  • Delivery to ship (bunkering operations)
  • Representative Sampling in the supply chain and during delivery
  • Documentation
  • Contracting
  • Dispute resolution

"The focus of IBIA's draft best practice guidance is to ensure the quality of bunkers delivered to ships meet the agreed purchase specifications and applicable global and local regulations. While the vast majority of bunkers delivered meet these requirements, quality can be unintentionally adulterated at various stages in the supply chain. The guidance seeks to identify and promote best practices to mitigate quality risks throughout the entire chain," said IBIA's IMO representative Unni Einemo, who coordinated IBIA's input to two best practice documents submitted to MEPC 72.

"Combined with the best practice guidance for buyers/purchasers submitted to MEPC 72, and the draft best practice for Member States/coastal States being developed by the MEPC Correspondence Group on Fuel Oil Quality, which IBIA also participates in, all aspects of quality control will be addressed. Hopefully this will help all stakeholders in ensuring better understanding of what it takes to ensure that ships are provided with bunker fuels that meet their operational requirements. This could become even more critical as of 2020, when we are likely to see a range of unfamiliar fuel blends that will require due diligence from all parties."

Next week MEPC 72 will consider both draft best practice guidance for fuel oil purchasers/users, and for fuel oil providers, IBIA notes.

The organisation is now calling on its members to implement the best practices and provide feedback.

"We want to know if the guidance is workable, and what can be improved," says Einemo.

"We are open to revising the document in due course in response to constructive feedback and evolving needs."

Best practice guidance for suppliers for assuring the quality of bunkers delivered to ships is available for download here: https://ibia.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/IBIA-Guidance-on-best-practice-for-fuel-oil-suppliers.pdf