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Blockchain bunker fuel assurance system takes next development step

05 Dec 2018

Maritime Blockchain Labs (MBL), a partnership set up between Lloyd’s Register Foundation and BLOC, on Tuesday said its bunker fuel assurance demonstrator system is set to enter a phase of further development as a key step towards commercialisation.

The next phase will involve the further development and scaling of the solution, capturing marine fuel deliveries and associated verified data into the system.

It is intended that this will be undertaken by a consortium formed of ship owners or operators, fuel suppliers, port authorities and a fuel testing body and MBL is inviting interest from stakeholders within these groups to join and co-sponsor this next phase of work. It is expected to begin January 2019.

The prototype digital system, providing fuel assurance for ship owners and suppliers, was developed earlier this year together with a consortium including the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), LR’s FOBAS team, Bostomar, Heidmar, BIMCO, Goodfuels and Precious Shipping. The demonstrator phase of the project was funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation.

The successful development of a marine fuels quality tracing and compliance prototype involved testing in a simulated environment with the consortium in September this year.

The demonstrator closed with the prototype being used for the manual capture of the world’s first end to end fuel transaction on a blockchain in the Port of Rotterdam. The solution also won the team the prestigious MIT SOLVE competition, in the category of coastal communities.

“The recently concluded MEPC73 showed us that there are still burning questions about the availability of compliant fuels post-2020 – and the current epidemic of bad bunker, as it’s been called by Intertanko and others, shows that building traceability and trust in the marine fuels supply chain is one of the most vital issues facing shipping right now,” said Deanna MacDonald, CEO of BLOC.

“Our demonstrator phase has shown us that dealing with marine fuels’ quality and quantity assurance is an industry wide issue, and that the industry is looking to work together to solve this issue.

“We’ve built something that for the first time, will allow stakeholders across the global shipping industry to verify and validate transactions across the fuels supply chain.”

MBL’s bunker fuel assurance system uses Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology. This technology creates an immutable chain of custody of quality analysis documentation and specification of fuels from the various actors transacting and transferring the fuels throughout the supply chain. The analysis results of the fuel supply are then associated or linked to the specific transaction offering this fuel.

Related: BLOC hails first blockchain bunker delivery
Related: BLOC announces bunkering consortium for blockchain
Related: Lloyd’s Register Foundation funds blockchain study

Photo credit: Matthew Henry/Burst
Published: 5 December, 2018


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