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SHIPNEXT: Blockchain to solve the problem of unpaid bunker bills

User which receives Tokens for services within SHIPNEXT or storage on company’s account can also choose to collect or transfer it into fiat currency (or vice versa).




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The following statement was provided by Alexander Vavarenko, CEO and Founder of SHIPNEXT, to Manifold Times in regards to how blockchain technology will be able to benefit the bunkering sector:

One of the next plans on SHIPNEXT’s agenda is to improve the security and reliability of freight payments. The time when freight is fully prepaid to a carrier’s or ship owner’s account may soon be over. 

The traditional way of executing freight payments bears risks ranging from stolen freight to underpayments resulting from a carrier’s bankruptcy, or fuel meter challenges, or other contractual disputes. Payment disputes are not uncommon in the bunkering industry. In many cases bunker suppliers are held hostage, while noncredit worthy carriers and shipowners abuse their control of the prepaid freight and use the money to cover past debts.

SHIPNEXT plans to put an end to this by introducing a blockchain-based solution within their open source Smart Contract program. SHIPNEXT, an international shipping marketplace, has designed and developed an open source Electronic Bill of Lading that will confirm the execution of a Smart Contract and generate a freight payment.

SHIPNEXT will work with banks to issue their own utility tokens, Ship Tokens (SHPT), specifically for the purpose of shipping related transactions, making the use of these bank issued Ship Tokens more reliable and trustworthy. 

The bank-issued Ship Tokens will be used for “Smart” Freight payment. Particularly, the Freight will be placed on a Smart Contract which acts more like an escrow account, and paid in part for every significant phase of the delivery process. The payment itself will be done on the blockchain and secured by Smart Contracts. 

Most significantly, ShipNext’s Ship Token system will solve the problem of unpaid bunker bills. It may be secured and paid by the shipper (shipper’s bank) straight to the bunker provider. The payment will first be completed in Ship Tokens (SHPT) in exchange for proof of the bunker supply, bunker survey documents and mater’s bunker delivery note, and easily exchangeable into fiat currency on demand. 

Photo credit: SHIPNEXT
Published: 20 July, 2018


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Digital platform

IBIA on digital revolution: Days of physical bunker delivery notes are numbered

IMO formally confirmed the use of Bunker Delivery Notes in electronic format as an acceptable alternative to the conventional hard copy, if they conform to the regulations of MARPOL Annex VI.






The International Bunker Industry Association on Tuesday (28 May) shared on the maritime industry shifting towards digitalisation including electronic bunker delivery notes: 

On 1 January global shipping passed a milestone in the acceleration of digitalisation in the sector that may have gone unnoticed by many. Under the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL), governments are now required to use a single digital platform, the Maritime Single Window, to share and exchange information with ships when they call at ports, effective 1 January 2024.

The intention is to streamline procedures to clear the arrival, stay and departure of ships and greatly enhance the efficiency of shipping worldwide. More than 4.6 million port calls were recorded globally in 2022.

IMO Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez said: “Digitalisation is critical for greater efficiency in shipping. The Maritime Single Window delivers information between ships, ports and government agencies quickly, reliably and smoothly.”

Meanwhile, in development directly affecting the bunker sector, the IMO has formally confirmed the use of Bunker Delivery Notes (BDN) in electronic format as an acceptable alternative to the conventional hard copy, if they conform to the regulations of MARPOL Annex VI.

This follows the 80th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee last July, which agreed an additional unified interpretation to regulations 18.5 and 18.6 of MARPOL Annex VI concerning BDN. It is now included in the updated consolidation circular MEPC.1/Circ.795/Rev.8.

The minimum information to be contained in the BDN remains the same in hard copy or electronic format and is specified in Appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI. An electronic BDN should be protected against any edits/modifications/revisions and a verification method used to make authentication possible. As with a paper BDN, an electronic format must be retained onboard for a period of not less than three years from the date of delivery and made readily available for inspection as required.

IMO notes in a statement: “Certain ports are looking to implement electronic BDN as part of a wider move towards digitalisation, including documentation related to bunkering operations. Ship officers should be aware of these changes such as the method to digitally transfer an electronic BDN from the bunker barge to the receiving ship and the subsequent means to securely retain that electronic record onboard for not less than the required time period.”

In a sign of the way things are going, Singapore’s Maritime & Port Authority has approved several suppliers to trial the use of electronic bunker delivery notes (eBDN).

Vitol Bunkers says, with its logistics arm V-bunkers, it is collaborating with technology company ZeroNorth to enhance the efficiency of the bunkering process in Singapore through digitalisation. V-Bunkers delivered over 7 million tonnes of bunker fuels in 2023 for its customers, which was also a record year for Singapore. Its barges delivered around 190,000 tonnes of biofuels, which is nearly 36% of total biofuels volume delivered in Singapore last year.

Rishab Bahl, Managing Director at V-Bunkers, said: “We have chosen ZeroNorth as our partner to help digitalise our delivery process with their eBDN solution. Their deep domain knowledge, a secure and strong solution, and commitment to continuous investments towards digitalisation align well with our objectives for a global roll-out.”

Kenneth Juhls, Managing Director for ZeroNorth Bunker added: “Digitalising the bunker industry is a game-changer that accelerates the green transition. Our partnership with Vitol Bunkers marks significant strides towards innovative and sustainable industry practices, and we’re excited to see how Singapore’s leadership influences this globally.”

Back in November last year ZeroNorth said it had enabled its customer Golden Island Diesel Oil Trading Pte Ltd (Golden Island) to become the first marine fuel supplier in Singapore to go 100% digital in its use of Electronic Bunker Delivery Notes (eBDN).

Commenting on the news, Tomohiro Yamano, General Manager, Marine Fuel Department at Golden Island said: “A month after the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) launched its digital bunkering initiative as the first port in the world to implement eBDN, we are proud to be the first company to fully switch to eBDN in the Singapore bunkering market. To achieve this, we required a solution that would facilitate a seamless workflow to enhance the productivity and efficiency of our marine fuel delivery operations.

Kenneth Juhls, Managing Director for ZeroNorth Bunker at ZeroNorth, added: “Bunker procurement has been a traditionally cumbersome process, burdened by manual documentation. We’re delighted to be helping Golden Island eliminate these manual processes to streamline documentation, drive efficiencies and boost productivity across its operations as a global eBDN solution on the market.

In a separate development in the move towards shipping industry digitalisation, major container line Pacific International Lines (PIL) says it has completed full integration with the Singapore Trade Data Exchange (SGTraDex) platform, making it the first shipping line to do so. PIL says in a statement: “This achievement, realised through a collaborative effort with KPI OceanConnect, signifies a transformative step towards global digitisation in PIL’s maritime operations.”

According to PIL, the integration, initiated early last year and concluded in December, has enabled it to leverage SGTraDex to improve the way transactions are conducted with its stakeholders, including suppliers and financial institutions. This is another key step forward in improving efficiency and transparency in maritime operations.

As part of the integration, PIL successfully executed an overseas bunkering transaction with KPI OceanConnect, demonstrating the feasibility of using SGTraDex for transactions beyond Singapore. PIL says the transaction highlighted the data highway’s potential to streamline complex processes and facilitate smoother collaborations between shipping lines and their beneficiary chain of organisations.

Since the successful overseas bunkering transaction, PIL has completed more than 40 transactions through SGTraDex. The adaptability of SGTraDex is evident in its ability to handle a diverse range of transactions, showcasing its relevance across the maritime sector.

Prior to this integration, PIL had to export and email documents to suppliers, who then manually uploaded key information onto the e-invoicing portal.

Related: IMO: Maritime Single Windows becomes mandatory for all ports from 1 January 2024
Related: MPA: Maritime Single Windows mandated for all ports from 1 January 2024
Related: Singapore: Golden Island switching to 100% e-BDN operations from 1 December
Related: ZeroNorth enables Golden Island to become Singapore’s first 100% digital bunker supplier
Related: Vitol chooses ZeroNorth e-BDN solution in Singapore
Related: Singapore: PIL becomes first shipping line to complete full integration with SGTraDex
Related: Singapore: MPA publishes guidelines for bunker suppliers in preparation of e-BDN launch
Related: Singapore set to become first port in the world to debut electronic bunker delivery notes
Related: MPA Chief Executive: Port of Singapore begins digital bunkering initiative today
Related: IBIA: International Maritime Organization confirms acceptance for electronic BDNs (update)
Related: IBIA: MEPC 80 confirms acceptance for electronic bunker delivery notes
Related: IBIA: IMO sub-committee accepts use of electronic BDNs after long discussion


Photo credit: International Bunker Industry Association
Published: 29 May 2024

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Alternative Fuels

First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore

X-Press Feeder container vessel was successfully refuelled with close to 300 mt of bio-methanol by bunker supplier GET; use of MFM system and digital bunkering was also trialled during SIMOPS.





First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore

X-Press Feeders, Global Energy Trading Pte Ltd (GET), and PSA Singapore (PSA) have successfully completed the first simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (SIMOPS) in Singapore on Monday (27 May), according to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. 

A X-Press Feeder container vessel on its maiden voyage from Asia to Europe was successfully refuelled with close to 300 metric tonnes (mt) of bio-methanol by GET, a MPA licensed bunker supplier, using MT KARA, a dedicated IMO type II chemical bunker tanker classified by Bureau Veritas and operated by Stellar Shipmanagement Services. 

The use of the mass flow metering (MFM) system for methanol, together with the use of digital bunkering, was also trialled during the SIMOPS. This follows the inaugural ship-to-containership methanol bunkering for the Laura Maersk in July 2023, and the successful ship-to-ship methanol bunkering of close to 1,340 metric tonnes of blended methanol for the Stena Prosperous on 24 May.

With these operations, the Port of Singapore is ready for commercial scale operations for shore-to-ship, ship-to-ship, and SIMOPS for methanol, and the same methodology is being followed for other new maritime fuels such as ammonia and hydrogen.

First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore

The SIMOPS was conducted at the new Tuas Port with the support of MPA, together with various government agencies and local research institutions. 

The methanol bunker fuel was supplied simultaneously while the container vessel was completing container moves. SIMOPS is the preferred mode of operation for container vessels to enhance operational efficiency. The cargo operation was carried out with the use of PSA’s double trolley quay cranes and automated guided vehicles at Tuas Port. The SIMOPS was completed in four hours. 

The ISCC-certified bio-methanol used for the SIMOPS was produced by OCI Global, a world-leading green methanol producer, and supplied via GET, a ISCC-certified supplier. The fuel was lifted at Vopak Penjuru Terminal, Singapore, which is a ISCC-certified storage facility for biofuels and methanol.

A Hazard Identification (HAZID) and Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) workshop was organised by MPA in the lead up to the SIMOPS. Adapting the experience from previous operations, participants from various government agencies, industry, and local research institutions, discussed potential risks and developed the corresponding prevention, control, and mitigation methods to address them. The bunkering plan was also discussed, and the various roles and responsibilities were clarified to ensure a coordinated cross-agency response in an event of an incident. To ensure all participants were familiar with the required procedures and safety measures, a tabletop exercise was also carried out with the relevant stakeholders after the workshop.

To ensure the safe conduct of the SIMOPS, MPA had worked closely with the bunkering stakeholders to ensure that crew members are competent and trained in handling methanol as a marine fuel and associated emergency responses. 

As part of the preparations for the methanol bunkering operations on 24 May and 27 May, the crew from Kara had also attended the MPA-approved training course for the handling of methanol as a fuel that was conducted by the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA), which is part of the Marine Energy Training Facility (METF) announced at Singapore Maritime Week 2024. For new fuels such as methanol, ammonia and hydrogen, all crew are expected to undergo the new training.

Feedback from these initial batches will inform the course development by tripartite partners and our research community.

The Emergency Operations Centre set up at MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre monitored the operations, supported by a drone equipped with volatile organic compound detector and infrared camera to detect methanol leaks into the atmosphere and methanol flames in the event of an incident. MPA also worked with the Meteorological Service of Singapore to provide advance warning on lightning risk. Representatives from X-Press Feeders, GET, PSA, local research institutions, and other government agencies were also at the EOC as part of the emergency response team.

The methanol plume model, which was employed during the first methanol bunkering operation conducted in Singapore in July 2023, was enhanced to support the operation planning and incident response plan. The updated model incorporated specific SIMOPs parameters, including vessels’ structure, port configuration and infrastructure, and proximity of simultaneous activities being conducted during the SIMOPS. At steady state, the digital models will be used to support commercial scale operations in the Port of Singapore.

Following the completion of the world’s first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering in Singapore last year, MPA launched an expression of interest (EOI) for the supply of methanol as a marine fuel in Singapore. A total of 50 submissions from over 60 regional and international companies comprising energy companies, fuel suppliers, traders, bunker operators, and storage companies were received. The strong industry interest signals clear business confidence in Singapore as a key offtake location for methanol and provides strong indications that the industry is preparing for methanol bunker demand to scale up in the coming years. MPA will call for applications for a license to supply methanol blends as a marine fuel in Singapore before the end of the year.

First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore

MPA is currently developing the Technical Reference for methanol bunkering, which will include the framework to govern the use of MFM and digital bunkering for methanol. MPA will also study further enhancements for the IMO Type II chemical bunker tanker as part of its ongoing work to develop the methanol bunkering licensing framework and Port Limit Bunker Tanker requirements for methanol bunkering. Insights from the EOI submissions will also inform the development of the methanol bunkering regulatory framework to ensure the safe and efficient supply of methanol blends as a marine fuel in Singapore at a commercial scale.

MPA has implemented digital bunkering since 1 November 2023, making Singapore the first port in the world to commence end-to-end digital bunkering operations. As part of on-going enhancements to allow MPA-approved digital bunkering solutions to be compatible for use with the bunkering of new fuels, the digital bunkering trial conducted as part of the SIMOPs has demonstrated the ability to transmit the essential methanol bunkering information electronically to various stakeholders and MPA, enabling near real-time visibility of the bunker delivery process. The potential to fully digitalise the bunker delivery process, including the bunkering of new fuels, will lead to significant time and cost savings for the entire maritime community, and will be part of the licensing requirements.

MPA, together with 22 partners, including leading global marine engine manufacturers, will establish the METF which will collectively train over 10,000 seafarers and shore-based staff by the 2030s. The METF will be based on a decentralised network of training facilities based in Singapore. It will tap on partners’ assets and technologies to train the workforce on the safe handling, emergency response, and incident management involving future marine fuels such as methanol, ammonia and hydrogen.

Mr Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive, MPA, said: “The successful execution of the SIMOPS is the outcome of many months of preparation for tripartite stakeholders to plan, prepare, and train to ensure the safety of the crew, port and vessel, while maintaining a high level of efficiency.”

“The learnings gained from these operations will help to further refine the various SOPs and safety measures.”

“We thank all our SIMOPS partners in helping to achieve this and we look forward to working with other like-minded partners, including on the use of digital bunkering and mass flow meter solutions, to operationalise the delivery of the new  marine fuels in Singapore.”

Mr Francis Goh, Chief Operating Officer at X-Press Feeders, said: "Today marks a historic milestone for both Singapore and the global maritime industry. Our vessel was not just the first to berth alongside here in Singapore and refuelled with green methanol, which reduces carbon emissions by 65% as compared to conventional marine fuel, but we were also the first in Singapore to achieve this while simultaneously loading and discharging cargo.”

“These achievements demonstrate Singapore's position at the forefront of the global maritime industry's transition to renewable fuels. By working together collaboratively, we can achieve even greater progress.”

Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op
Related: Singapore reaches new milestone with methanol bunkering op of “Stena Prosperous”
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: MPA receives 50 submissions for EOI to supply methanol bunker fuel in Singapore


Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 27 May 2024

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Singapore reaches new milestone with methanol bunkering op of “Stena Prosperous”

Blended methanol, comprising 20% ISCC-certified bio-methanol combined with conventional methanol, was supplied by MPA-licensed bunker supplier Global Energy Trading using bunker tanker “MT KARA”.





Singapore reaches new milestone with methanol bunkering op of “Stena Prosperous”

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Friday (24 May) said Singapore is one step closer to developing its full capability to deliver methanol bunkering at a commercial scale. 

Close to 1,340 metric tonnes (MT) of blended methanol was bunkered ship-to-ship on 24 May and there will be another operation for simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operations for a container vessel this week. These operations will also test the use of mass flow meters (MFM) and digital bunkering.  

The blended methanol, comprising 20% ISCC-certified  bio-methanol combined with conventional methanol, was supplied by Global Energy Trading Pte Ltd, a MPA-licensed bunker supplier, using MT KARA, a dedicated IMO type II chemical bunker tanker operated by Stellar Shipmanagement Services. 

The fuel was received by the newly christened 49,900 DWT IMO II MeMAX tanker, Stena Prosperous, commercially managed by Proman, a leading methanol producer. This operation, which was completed in 7 hours, follows from the world's first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering conducted earlier in Singapore in July 2023 for the Laura Maersk during which 300 MT of bio-methanol was bunkered.

The blended methanol was supplied by Proman’s marketing arm, Valenz, and lifted at Vopak Penjuru Terminal, Singapore.

The blended methanol is reported by Proman to deliver CO2e saving of 31% on a tank-to-wake  basis compared to the same voyage operated on Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO). The use of blended methanol provides a pathway fuel for ships to meet GHG emissions limits required by Fuel EU Maritime for ships trading in the European Union and European Economic Area. 

The lifecycle emissions accounting framework is currently being discussed at the International Maritime Organization. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) expects the relevant metrics for maritime fuels, including well-to-wake, tank-to-wake, to be measurable, reportable and verifiable, and that these should be made available and updated as more information from these operations are reviewed.

The MPA-licensed bunker tanker MT Kara meets the requirements under the IMO’s International Bulk Chemical Code for the construction and equipping of ships carrying dangerous chemicals in bulk and complies with the Standards for Port Limit Bunker Tankers. 

The vessel is equipped with twin screw propulsion and a bow thruster for better manoeuvrability. Kara is also fitted with an onboard mass flow metering system, a flow boom capable of transferring bunkering hoses between vessels, and a vapour recovery line. In addition, for the safe handling of chemical cargoes such as methanol, the vessel is fitted with nitrogen bottles supplying nitrogen gas for the purging and blow through of the bunker hoses. 

Nitrogen, given its inert and stable properties, was used to fill up the remaining vapour space once the cargo is loaded, a process known as nitrogen padding, to reduce flammability risk. Finally, the vessel is equipped with Quick Connect Quick Disconnect (QCDC) and Dry Breakaway Couplings (DBC) for both liquid and vapour hose systems, to minimise leakages and enable the quick and simple disconnection of hoses in an emergency. 

MPA will study further enhancements for such tankers as part of its ongoing work to develop the methanol bunkering licensing framework and Port Limit Bunker Tanker requirements for methanol bunkering. The Technical Reference  for methanol bunkering, currently being developed, will also include the framework to govern the use of MFM and digital bunkering for methanol bunkering, taking into consideration the data gathered during this and the following operation. 

In preparation for the bunkering operation, the risk assessment, bunkering plan and checklists were jointly prepared by all the parties involved to ensure a common understanding of the safety measures and emergency protocols. Clear roles and responsibilities were also established for each agency to ensure that the operations, and emergency response, were coordinated. 

The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) set up at MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre monitored the operation, supported by a drone equipped with a volatile organic compound detector and an infrared camera to detect methanol leaks into the atmosphere and methanol flames in the event of an accidental leak. The methanol plume model, employed during the first methanol bunkering operation in July 2023, was updated to support the planning and incident response for this operation. 

As part of the training and safety preparations for the bunkering, the crew from Kara attended the MPA-approved training course for the handling of methanol as a fuel, conducted by the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA). 

The training course, one of the first in the Asia Pacific, was launched in April 2024 and covers the operational and safety aspects of methanol bunkering operations. The course curriculum was developed by SMA according to the standards and requirements set by MPA, taking onboard the lessons learnt and best practices from the first methanol bunkering operation conducted in Singapore in July 2023. 

This is part of the operationalisation of the Maritime Energy Training Facility Initiative announced at the 2024 Singapore Maritime Week. 

Mr Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive, MPA, said: “We continue to learn and enhance MaritimeSG’s ecosystem capabilities from each bunkering operation involving new maritime fuels, in terms of developing new supply chains, enhancing infrastructure support such as terminal facilities and bunker tankers, meeting seafarer training needs, setting standards for bunkering and testing our emergency response plans.

“We thank Proman, Global Energy Group and Stellar Shipmanagement for the successful ship-to-ship bunkering of close to 1,340 MT of blended methanol. Doing so safely and efficiently is an important step towards our support to the international maritime community and complements MPA’s earlier call for expression of interest for proposals to supply methanol as a marine bunker fuel at scale in Singapore.”

David Cassidy, Chief Executive of Proman, said: “The bunkering of this 20/80 green/conventional methanol blend on Stena Prosperous represents a further step forward for methanol as a marine fuel.”

“Its cleaner burning properties, and lower greenhouse gas emissions, delivers immediate cleaner air benefits and underlines the value of using methanol blends as part of a pathway fuel strategy to a lower emission future, while helping the shipping industry to meet decarbonisation goals.”

“We were delighted to undertake this bunkering operation in Singapore after the ship’s official naming ceremony and would like to thank all parties involved for the successful collaboration.”

Munee Chow, Group Business Manager of Global Energy Group, said: “To all participating partners and personnel: Congratulations for achieving this milestone.  Being a Singapore bunker supplier of more than 30 years, this marks a memorial moment for Global Energy on our efforts towards decarbonisation.”

Kelvin Kang, General Manager, Stellar Shipmanagement, said: “With the successful execution of this large-scale methanol loading and bunkering supply operation, we have gained a deeper understanding of its operational characteristics. This valuable insight will enable us to further enhance the efficiency and safety of methanol handling in future operations.”

Stena Prosperous was officially named on 23 May at a christening ceremony held at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, Singapore. On departing Singapore, the vessel will take its cargo to the United States of America.

Related: Methanol-fuelled tanker “Stena Prosperous” formally named in Singapore
Related: Proman Stena Bulk takes delivery of fourth methanol-fuelled tanker “Stena Prosperous”


Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 27 May 2024

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