IBIA Supports Port of Singapore Bunker Initiative

Monday, November 07, 2005
Recently reported quality concerns of unacceptable levels of aluminium and silicon found in bunkers supplied to vessels in Singapore has led to divergent statements by various concerned parties and has created much negative interest and uncertainty in the market.

There has been a confusing picture of allegations of tampered samples, and contradictory clarifications. IBIA believes that this has perhaps been due to a polarity of opinion on responsibilities and how the industry should react to such incidents. Therefore IBIA supports the Port of Singapore's initiative to set up a Bunker Quality Advisory Panel to help clarify these issues.

Don Gregory, chairman of IBIA, says the Singapore port authorities take a very pro-active approach to bunkering issues with pace-setting bunker industry initiatives to promote business, operating efficiency and effectiveness. "They have taken a rule-based approach to ensure market transparency and integrity," says Gregory.

Examples include the Singapore Standard Code of Practice for Bunkering (SS CP60:2004), and various other schemes. These standards are the result of extensive consultation and agreements and have contributed positively towards continuous improvement and help to ensure a level playing field for all in the bunker supply chain.

But it seems that there is more that is required and there are other considerations beyond rules and regulations. IBIA considers that human factors and technology have a role to play. Gregory believes that the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) invitation to representatives of the industry to form the Singapore Bunker Quality Advisory Panel (BQAP) is exactly the right next step in the drive to raise industry standards and the image of the bunker industry. "I see Singapore as a leading light and I hope an example which we can take to other major ports in the world," says Gregory.

The BQAP will consult representatives from a variety of sectors involved in the bunker supply chain in Singapore. Parties involved in the BQAP headed by the MPA are IBIA, Intertanko, shipowners, local Singapore bunker fuel suppliers and major fuel testing companies.

In the event that the BQAP has confirmed an off-quality product, the framework should include a timely communication process which could be activated to assure the market that corrective measures have and would be taken to segregate and remove non-conforming product from the supply chain.

IBIA highlighted earlier in the year that most bunker transactions and physical supply processes pass without incident and only a minority of incidents cause problems. IBIA will work hard to develop solutions to these issues with the intention of raising bunker industry standards and eliminating unacceptable practices.

In this regard IBIA fully supports MPA's on-going drive to continually upgrade best practices and strengthen the existing transparent and pro-industry environment for all stakeholders in the Singapore bunker industry and will proactively contribute towards the development of the BQAP.

IBIA strongly believes that the BQAP deserves the cooperation of all its panel members and support from the bunker industry globally to accomplish its given task which could further strengthen the bunker quality value chain. This MPA-industry collaborative initiative should demonstrate to the global ship owning communities the bunker industry's commitment to on-going and continuous improvements to serve them better.

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