INTERVIEW: The Marine Fuels Alliance Marks First Year Anniversary

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Friday March 31, 2023

On February 21, 2022, the Marine Fuels Alliance (MFA) was officially launched and their website went live, allowing for companies to register and become the first members of the new bunker industry organisation.

Having now just celebrated its first-year anniversary, at this year's IE Week in London, Ship & Bunker sat down with MFA Executive Officer, Anthony Mollet, at the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel to discuss the journey so far and what lies ahead.


Anthony, congratulations to you and the MFA on completing year one. I understand today's gathering of MFA members at the hotel has been about a lot more than just celebrations though.


Thank you and yes, that's right. The room here was sponsored by Awyr Las Ltd and with John Phillips' help we had a fantastic meeting of credit managers this morning. It forms part of our Credit Focus Area and those present will be invited through the coming months to join me writing Blogs and presenting Podcasts to look at different aspects of credit management and policy control.

I mention this specifically because this shows where the MFA is a year on from 2022's IE week where I spent time handing out business cards and repeating the MFA intro and value proposition in what felt like auto-repeat mode. Twelve months later and we have companies requesting to meet me. We have some really enthusiastic members willing to contribute and engage with our work.


On the point of companies that you are engaging with, what are the current membership levels and where do you expect those levels to be in the future? Perhaps most importantly, who is it that you see becoming members of the MFA?


We have 67 members. We set a target of 100 for year 1 – you have to be ambitious – but realistically as it was still post-covid with limited travel opportunities then we knew first members would come from hard graft of phone calls and online meetings. This actually worked and in the first months we secured our first Founder Members and initial flow of industry Partners.

As for projections, it is hard to pin point. The aim is to have a membership FOR bunker suppliers and sellers but naturally, for the meetings to work and resources to be generated, then we obviously need a wide variety of professional partners. These include law firms, insurance brokers, consultants, IT providers etc. And of course, we really want to attract shipowners and bunker buyers. Their voice is essential if we are to demonstrate to suppliers the value for them to make the changes and heed the advice being given to them.


Do you have any financial projections or requirements for the MFA to be sustainable?


We are structured to be non-for-profit and independent. As the only employee of the MFA, most income has to cover costs and associated overheads for travel, marketing etc. We are very proud that this has been achieved from the first months since launch. Membership fees as the only income has allowed the MFA to operate and grow. We have had tremendous assistance from other organisations and businesses when it comes to attendance to events and additional promotional activity. But on the whole, the MFA is covering costs and making plans with funds for upcoming travel and meetings.

Our target remains to have 100 - 150 members in the coming year. The difference now is that we can demonstrate action and we can promote our work to potential new members. We have moved on from simply explaining what we aim to do; we are now delivering and planning additional content.


So how does the MFA operate, and what is it currently doing for its members?


Currently, a lot of my time is spent using our CRM system to map out potential members, and also tracking the strategic areas where work is being undertaken.

Naturally, contacting companies and explaining what the MFA is takes time, but now that we can directly point towards pieces of work and content on the website, it becomes an easier process.

I take careful note of feedback and what suppliers and partners say. I am listening to what they feel are important topics and where the MFA can focus its attention. I believe this is where the MFA is different to other industry bodies: we are listening and then using our time and energy to find ways to deliver the tangible solutions and connections to experts that are sorely needed.

I also provide a monthly report for the executive management to show progress, including work done, meetings attended and also plans for the coming month. A newsletter is also produced for members, also showing key developments, new members and listing upcoming meetings, events and dates of interest.


There is of course already a well-established bunker industry association - IBIA, the International Bunker Industry Association. Many countries also have their own bunker industry bodies. Where does MFA see itself fitting into that picture?


The MFA mission statement is to Support, Connect & Promote. We are really honing in on day-to-day operational matters. Alongside this, we are unashamedly commercial as we bring to a wider audience the expert advice and solutions that our key partners provide. We are also keen to advertise and help market new products and services that our members may launch.

We know people need tangible solutions and easy-to-access support. They need direction and a means to understand technical and complicated areas of our business. This is the difference.
Many of the MFA's members are also members of IBIA and/or regional bunker bodies. For IBIA specifically, we recognise their long-standing service and ongoing work. IBIA provides a proactive approach with regular updates of important and detailed work being done - training, education books etc. - and of course it has a seat at the IMO.

We felt there was additional need for certain stakeholders. I say we; I mean the founding executive management who started work on the concept a year before we launched. Several are active with IBIA and they see our value and what we are trying to achieve in addition to that.

It sounds cliche but the bunker industry is going through a period of unprecedented change. MFA recognises that company managers and staff in smaller organisations need additional help if they are going to complete this journey that we have ahead of us. We want those stakeholders to have a voice and help them address challenges at an operational level. Not all companies have the internal resources and skilled professionals to manage claims, assess credit, write and review policies, and keep up to date on the latest trends, new regulations, and legislation. MFA is here to do that for those that need it.


Where is the MFA going next, other than wanting to grow its membership?


It is hard to say exactly what MFA will be focusing on because even in year one we have already needed to make adjustments. War meant sanctions came to prominence and will remain there for the foreseeable future, and insurance also was a topic that came up as important to members early on.

What is important is that we have a structure in place that, from the beginning, identifies these areas of importance to our members. I'm delighted we have executive managers helping in each focus area that comes up.

So, in the year ahead we will be generating new content and delving into new topics using the same process as we have been over the last year - listen to our members, find out what they need help with, then focus on providing the content, discussion forums, and solutions they need.

You'll also see more blogs and podcasts, and hopefully I will get more time to see people face-to-face as I travel to speaking engagements on behalf of MFA.

We also want to develop and enhance the website portal. We are noticing patterns and similarities of website and membership usage when we meet other organisations and alliances, so clearly there is room for synergy and cooperation.

We should also be looking to develop a small team with regional champions providing direct support. For those companies who have embraced MFA and what we are doing, it would be great to have their resources and capacity to promote our work, help with meetings and marketing, etc.


Any final comments for us on completing the first year and any message you have for our readers?


To sum it up: we have achieved something. We have communicated our aims and values and tapped into a section of the bunker and indeed wider shipping community and delivered our message. Uptake of membership and engagement by so many eager to participate in something new is a tremendous accolade.

We are also reflective and honest, and recognise the work we must do and deliver to the membership to ensure this is sustained and will grow organically. The MFA is on the map!

What I would say to your readers is please do come visit the website - - and I invite you to learn more about what we do. If it sounds like the right fit for your company, join us! Anyone that wants to chat more about what we are doing should absolutely contact me directly.

Anthony can be reached by email at: