INTERVIEW: Monjasa Talks In-Depth on New Holistic Bunkering App

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Monday May 22, 2023

Global marine fuel supplier Monjasa is setting out to improve its customer service by maximising transparency around the bunkering process with its new app.

The firm announced the app's launch at the start of this year, saying it had received positive feedback from selected customers in a trial period.

The take-up of the system has been much more widespread since then, Tue Nielsen, an IT business developer at Monjasa, said in a recent interview with Ship & Bunker. Access to the service is available to all of the firm's customers, once the firm has sent them an invitation and set them up on it.

""You can name any of the world's top 10 shipowners, and I think we would have at least eight of them on board already," Nielsen said.

"The feedback we see is positive so far.

"All of these customers are pushing transparency."

Pre-Bunkering Overview

The app aims to give a full overview of all the information a customer might need about a bunker fuel trade, from the planning stage to post-combustion emissions calculations, Nielsen explained.

"We've built what we think is a window into the way that we do business within Monjasa," he said.

"We try to give you insight all the way from the market news to when you actually receive an invoice, and access your customer satisfaction survey and track your CO2 emissions data."

The data includes price indications at all of the ports Monjasa covers, their trade history with the firm and their emissions data. External pricing information and news from the Oil Market Journal are also available and customised through the app.

Bunker Delivery Transparency

But the most complex element lies in the information the service delivers once a bunker deal has been agreed, Nielsen said.

"A notification will appear on your mobile phone, and you can then select to follow the delivery, and then you will continue to receive updates from the vessel companion app," he said.

"As we go along, more details will appear, and we will provide customers with real-time data: the estimated time of completion was 13:50, we have the safety meeting starting and ending, we ended up completing eight minutes ahead, then we have cast-off at 14:18, unmooring at 14:12 and so on.

"Simply click and right away the customer gains access to the bunker delivery receipt that is signed, the customer satisfaction survey, as well as the entire statement of facts. And you can see the specific timestamp for each of the products that was supplied."

All of the relevant information for this service is filled in manually by the company's bunker barge staff in real time. The company is in the process of installing the necessary systems on all of its barges, with the rollout to Monjasa's delivery vessels expected to be completed by the end of this year.

"We are investing heavily in building custom software for our barges that can operate offline or online, and will automatically sync as soon as they have a connection," Nielsen said.

"We have built this platform for capturing all of this data for automatically generating the BDRs, the Customer Satisfaction Surveys, the Bunker Requisition Form -- you can generate that in the system, you will still get the print-out, and there will also be the option of e-signing eventually."

When the internet is not available at the delivery vessel's current location, the information is still stored in real time and becomes available to the customer as soon as a connection is restored.

Bunker Industry Digitalisation

Monjasa's app is the latest development in the bunker industry's digitalisation trend. The industry is slowly seeking to phase out paper documents and bring more transparency and reliability of service to the bunkering process at the same time.

"We are pushing transparency in the industry, and we are pushing the fact that we are one brand, so no matter whether you are trading with us in Panama or Vietnam, we provide the same service," Nielsen said.

"We know that our customers are working with us even on Christmas Eve, and if they need insight on how an operation is actually taking place, we want to make it easy for them.

"Previously we have always been there by being able to pick up the phone and call.

"We always try to be available to our customers, and this is an extension of that.

"We are trying to raise the bar and present a more holistic approach to bunker purchasing and supply - hopefully this is something that will translate into a more level playing field in the end."

The firm is also seeing wider support for the digitalisation process from its partners outside the industry, Nielsen said.

"It's not only us as a maritime partner, but also the industry and the customers that we're working with in the technology space, they're also super-keen on enabling this," he said.

"The guys who've done this in so many other industries, and then are also doing it with us, say, why is this a first?'