While port authorities are now starting to follow Singapore's lead in making the use of mass flow meters mandatory for bunkering, commercial reasons are still likely to be the main driver for the uptake of this technology, according to bunker industry body IBIA's regulatory expert.
Edmund Hughes, the new IMO representative for IBIA, discussed the issue of MFMs in a panel appearance at the IBIA Annual Convention 2023 in Dubai on Wednesday.
Singapore first mandated the use of MFMs for fuel oil deliveries in 2017. The port authorities of Rotterdam and Antwerp-Bruges are now 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.
But Hughes argued that the search for profits could still be a bigger reason for the spread of MFMs, saying the need for accuracy around payments for carbon emissions will necessitate accuracy in measuring how much fuel ships receive.
"We've talked about carbon pricing coming; companies, when they're going to pay the carbon price, will want to make sure they're just paying what they need to pay and not anything else.
"I think it's going to become a commercial imperative rather than a regulatory one."