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COSCO Shipping uses GSBN blockchain tech for bio bunker fuel procurement

GSBN leverages its blockchain-enabled network to establish linkage between PoS Certificate, which documents purchase of biofuel by the carrier, and Green Certificates issued to corporations.

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China: Cosco Shipping and bp to explore collaboration into methanol bunker fuel

Not-for-profit consortium Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) on Tuesday (2 April) said it has completed a pilot with COSCO Shipping (COSCO) to issue traceable and verifiable green certificates powered by blockchain technology.

As global shippers step up to their corporate responsibility of safeguarding the environment, corporations have started to pay a green premium on biofuel usage in exchange for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction claims or Green Certificates. 

To increase traceability and verifiability, COSCO has partnered with GSBN, an established neutral party in the shipping industry, to launch its Hi ECO blockchain-based shipping product. 

GSBN leverages its blockchain-enabled network to establish linkage between the Proof of Sustainability (PoS) Certificate, which documents the purchase of biofuel by the carrier, and Green Certificates issued to corporations. 

This connection guarantees that each Green Certificate corresponds to an actual purchase of biofuel, instilling confidence in the marketplace. Furthermore, the technology enables easy verification through attestation, allowing stakeholders to validate the veracity of the claims. This enhances credibility and establishes a foundation of trust among all participants involved in the shipping process.

Establishing a connection between the Proof of Sustainability and the Green Certificate is merely the first step. The ultimate goal is to document the entire biofuel procurement process, from its source to its consumption, on the GSBN blockchain. GSBN’s vision is to create a transparent and continuous chain of custody of biofuels, thereby upholding the integrity of environmental claims linked to biofuel.

Bertrand Chen, CEO at GSBN, said, “Measuring the impact of decarbonisation requires access to trusted data. The completion of this pilot with COSCO is a positive step towards ensuring that green claims are traceable and verifiable.”

“In doing so, we can create a virtuous cycle in which the value of green shipping can be accounted for to justify investment and further expand green shipping over time. We look forward to working with our members and partners to deploy even more solutions to assist their decarbonisation transition.”

Tang Wei, Strategic Customer Developing & Maintaining Department Manager at COSCO Shipping, said, “The Hi ECO Certificate complements our commitment to reducing emissions throughout the entire Well to WAKE cycle, and underpins the value we aim to provide our customers through green shipping.”

“This pioneering solution has been further guaranteed to be fair and equitable through GSBN which serves as a neutral party and through its blockchain-enabled platform, provides our customers assurance of immutability and traceability.”

 

Photo credit: Cosco Shipping / Global Shipping Business Network
Published: 3 April 2024

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Biofuel

GoodFuels and Circularise partner on digital traceability solution for biofuel bunker supply chains

Project aims to digitise bio bunker fuel record management process required to comply to EU’s RED II regulation, which aims to ensure biofuels provide a truly sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

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Circularise, a Dutch supply chain transparency software provider using blockchain technology, and GoodFuels, FincoEnergies’ sustainable fuels brand, on Tuesday (24 October) announced their project to digitise the biofuels record management process required for RED II compliance.

Throughout this innovative project, FincoEnergies shared their knowledge on bookkeeping processes with Circularise to expand its MassBalancer traceability software suite to include the biofuels supply chain, adding ISCC EU certification as an additional supported framework.

Circularise partners with GoodFuels on digital traceability solution for biofuels supply chains press release MassBalancer

The European Union’s RED II regulation aims to ensure that biofuels provide a truly sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. As part of this regulation, records must be maintained for the sourcing, chain of custody, and GHG emissions of the biofuel product process and then verified by a third-party certification scheme such as ISCC EU. This process of bookkeeping is currently a manual process of companies exchanging information from pdfs and spreadsheets, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Adding a digital method of record management will increase information security and ease-of-use for any organisation that needs to report their biofuels feedstock and supply chains. By digitising the record keeping process, information on the chain of custody and GHG emissions of the biofuel products can be efficiently audited. supporting a trustworthy and fair marine biofuels industry.

Paul Bakker, Digital Development Manager at FincoEnergies, said: “Transparency and trust are critical to the supply chains of all marine fuels, but especially biofuels, where we must be able to demonstrate our sustainability claims easily and with confidence. Through our GoodFuels brand, we are dedicated to leading sustainability within the biofuels market, which is why we are pleased to be able to support Circularise to improve the digital reporting process.”

Jordi de Vos, co-founder of Circularise, said: “By leveraging digital technologies to trace the chain of custody and impact of the biofuels, we can shed light on opaque supply chains and guarantee that these fuels serve as a truly sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Our partnership with GoodFuels is a testament to our shared commitment to drive transparency and sustainability in the energy sector.”

Circularise partners with GoodFuels on digital traceability solution for biofuels supply chains press release biomethane

Going forward, FincoEnergies will test this software with their GoodFuels customers to ensure a robust information transfer process. By shifting from manual methods to software grounded in RED II principles, Circularise will assist FincoEnergies in ensuring the prevention of double counting of biofuel credits, further enhancing trust and transparency throughout the value chain.

The collaboration will continue to explore ways for FincoEnergies to enable its downstream customers to fairly allocate the use of GoodFuels biofuels within their sustainability reporting. 

Photo credit: GoodFuels
Published: 25 October, 2023

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Bunker Fuel Quality

The Shipowners’ Club: Introducing maritime technology to bunker fuel supply chain

Georgia Maltezou of The Club and Darren Shelton of FuelTrust share on how maritime technology can help shipowners and charterers ensure bunker fuel quality and quantity.

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Mutual insurance association The Shipowners’ Club on Thursday (28 September), together with FuelTrust, published an article on how shipowners and charterers can ensure bunker fuel quality and quantity through technology to reduce the financial impact of off-spec bunkers.

By Georgia Maltezou, LCC Manager - London, the Shipowners' Club and Darren Shelton, VP & Co-Founder, FuelTrust

Bunkering is one of the most common shipping operations occurring daily worldwide, irrespective of the type or size of the vessel. Supplying or receiving fuel happens on every single sea voyage but despite it being such a routine operation, there are still several disputes arising from it, especially with regards to the quality or quantity of the bunkers stemmed.

The possibility of placing off-spec bunkers onboard the vessel remains a constant worry for shipowners and the ship’s charterers, as its consequences can be detrimental. Burning off-spec bunkers raises immediate safety concerns and leaves the owners facing not only fuel system failures and engine breakdowns, but also loss of time, underperformance and delay claims, arrests, and the eventual cost of de-bunkering.

Bunker quality and quantity claims are usually quite complex and fact sensitive, so owners must be vigilant and act fast. Preserving evidence such as the consumption documentation, the relevant logbooks and checklists, the damaged parts and most importantly the fuel samples, is essential; cases are won or lost on evidence and the owners’ ability to prove a sufficient causal link between the bunkers and the damage to their vessel. Accurate and complete documentation is, therefore, crucial.

“Cases are won or lost on evidence and the owners’ ability to prove a sufficient casual link between the bunkers and the damage to their vessel,” said Georgia Maltezou.

Furthermore, owners and charterers will be aware that bunker supply contracts are typically drafted on the bunker suppliers’ terms and conditions which limit or even exclude entirely the supplier’s liability for quality or quantity claims. Bunker supply contracts often impose a very short timeframe for notification of claims (sometimes as short as seven days from the day of the supply of the bunkers) and failure to notify the potential quantity or quality issue within this timeline means that the claim is deemed waived. Whilst these short time frames can be contested in some jurisdictions, they may leave the owners or their time charterers with no avenue of recouping their losses.

In the event of a bunker related dispute, we recommend Members approach the Club’s LCC Team at an early stage. The team has considerable experience in handling these types of claims and will be able to provide prompt and accurate guidance to Members on how to deal with what can be time-consuming and challenging disputes.

In the following article, the latest in our Technology in Shipping series, the Club has invited FuelTrust, a GreenTech SaaS Company, who say they can assist shipowners and charterers to ensure the quality, quantity and compatibility of the fuel purchased, to explain how they feel they can harness technology to reduce the financial impact of bad fuel, mitigate the regulatory risk and empower greener fleets.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the idea of tracing fuel origins by measuring molecules seemed inconceivable. However, today we not only know it is possible, but also that there's significant value in examining the digital DNA of fuels. Understanding carbon intensity by individual parcels of fuel can help predict a vessel's emissions based on its unique engine combustion. This information is crucial for calculating potential taxes and credits, which have financial implications for ship owners and charterers.

Equally relevant is the issue of fraud, which has been prominent throughout maritime history. Advanced technology now allows principals to detect fuel quality disparities before making a purchase, minimising harm. If a problem arises after receiving the fuel, they can resolve it swiftly using machine learning atop lab analyses for evidence.

To address these concerns, FuelTrust has patented AI technologies that create chemical digital twins to track fuel lifecycles and identify molecular disparities. Certificates of quality reports from accredited labs ensure integrity for the machine learning and reliable data-driven calculations.

Modelling of fuels is key to reducing instances where contaminated fuels impact the market. FuelTrust's research reveals that between 2019 and 2022, over 39% of fuels globally had a content difference of 2% or more when comparing lab reports to delivery receipts. The primary cause was water introduced during delivery, resulting in average losses of US$ 14,910 per affected delivery. At scale this is costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars, the majority of which is avoidable.

“Fuel quality assurance is achievable and risk can be mitigated, without question, by using the right solutions to source fuels from transparent suppliers,” said Darren Shelton.

Although the implementation of electronic mass flow meters has fortunately curbed fraud in the paper trail, the introduction of transitional and alternative fuels has created new challenges. FuelTrust's technology offers new confidence to principals, ensuring that sourced fuels are not only suitable for the engine but also align with what was paid for. When purchasing premium fuels to achieve sustainability goals, it’s critical buyers receive exactly what they ordered.

Fuel quality assurance is achievable and risk can be mitigated, without question, by using the right solutions to source fuels from transparent suppliers. If a claim does arise, stakeholders can resolve it quickly by working with a single, unbiased source of truth.

Detecting fraud remains a concern due to human predictability. Dilution of fuels, whether by water or some form of chemical contaminant as seen in recent cases in Houston and Singapore, will unfortunately continue. FuelTrust technology identifies fuel supply chains that introduce risks, enabling informed buying decisions by operators. Prudent procurement processes can safeguard against questionable suppliers and facilitate deals with trustworthy ones, benefiting everyone involved.

In the event contaminated fuel enters the market, FuelTrust's software alerts operators immediately if the AI detects a disparity in a lab analysis. Whether it's an alarming level of metals, a surprising amount of water or a significant disparity between side-by-side supplier and ship certificates of quality, this tool is considerably valuable for risk-averse buyers.

For this to work, fuel suppliers can seamlessly share their lab reports with buyers on the FuelTrust platform. This not only helps clients clearly identify fuel qualities but also validates the value of the suppliers' products. It's a win-win situation, preventing fraud, helping achieve Net Zero goals and supporting transparent suppliers of low-carbon fuels.

Many fuels that are considered "on-spec" still have quality issues that harm engines. Due to the broad nature of fuel specifications, numerous ships have suffered losses as a result of on-spec products, impacting the global supply chain. Ensuring fuel quality is a massive burden on the ship’s crew and shore staff, made more challenging by the difficulty of detecting disparities and filing related claims within contract deadlines.

A large portion of P&I claims are categorised as “machinery” issues and damage to main engines caused by off-spec bunkers has been identified as a common root cause for those claims. Reducing these impacts benefits all stakeholders in the supply chain.

Not only can fuels be sourced with minimal risk of fraud, but savvy buyers can also employ this technology to reduce their risks and improve their emissions profiles. This presents a new challenge for stakeholders: how to compare different fuels effectively.

Many alternative fuels that are being marketed show growing promise, but shipowners struggle to decide which dual-engine combination is the best investment. FuelTrust's technology enables a side-by-side comparison of fuel types and utilises existing data on a ship's historical performance to offer true by-ship, by-fuel, by-voyage insights taking into consideration carbon intensity, consumption and compliance. This detailed exploration helps owners determine the best path forward for their vessels.

Tracing a fuel's lifecycle solves major problems in the shipping industry. FuelTrust's patented technology allows a fuel to be tracked digitally, through its unique DNA, using lab data from stakeholders along the energy supply chain. It can be safely shared cryptographically offering transparency and provenance.

In addition to mitigating risks and resolving disputes, traceability provides much needed visibility into the Scope 3 supply chain, addressing a significant problem for the shipping and energy industries. FuelTrust's blockchain solution allows principals to see beyond the limitations of Scope 1 and 2 datasets, providing robust metrics to meet sustainability goals while satisfying regulators, boards and consumers’ concerns.

Through the invention of new technology, organisations like FuelTrust are not only helping shipowners to solve an age-old problem but also assisting the shipping industry as a whole to achieve Net Zero goals while mitigating risk from fraudulent fuels.

Photo credit: Chris Pagan on Unsplash
Published: 3 October, 2023

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