IBIA CONVENTION: IBIA Chairman Puts MFM Cost at $0.02/MT Over Barge Lifetime

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday November 9, 2023

The chairman of industry body IBIA has played down the cost of installing mass flow meters to reduce bunker quantity disputes, saying the cost is easily affordable over the lifetime of a delivery vessel.

IBIA Chairman Tim Cosulich addressed the topic at the IBIA Annual Convention 2023 in Dubai on Wednesday.

"The cost can be, let's say, around $200,000," Cosulich said at the convention.

"But if you look at the useful life of a barge, 20-25 years, if you consider the volumes delivered by a barge over the course of its useful life, then it becomes like a 2ยข/mt cost.

"So it's not going to make a port too expensive."

Singapore first mandated the use of MFMs for fuel oil deliveries in 2017. In his role Fratelli Cosulich Group's CEO for marine fuels, Cosulich saw an immediate benefit, he said.

"As a physical supplier -- I'm quite open about it -- until the mass flow meters were implemented and mandated, I was losing money, because we were never competitive; our price, somehow, was always too high, because our business model was different from the one of most other suppliers.

"The moment the mass flow meters were finally mandated, then our volumes increased by five times.

"We saw first-hand what a difference the implementation of the mass flow meters makes."

The port authorities of Rotterdam and Antwerp-Bruges are in the process of making MFM use mandatory for bunker barges from 2026. And later at the convention on Wednesday, the Port of Fujairah said it was considering adding a similar rule for its bunker suppliers.

Port authorities considering moves along these lines need to implement a robust licensing system like Singapore's to see the benefits of MFMs, Cosulich said.

"The MFM is a device -- if you want to find a way around it, you can," he said.

"It's the institution behind it -- in Singapore that's the port authority -- driving the enforcement, the implementation of the rules and punishments and so on.

"My strong wish and encouragement for the port authorities of the ARA region is really that this enforcement is there, that the punishment is there for those that break the rules."