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SIBCON 2020: Executive summary of the world’s top bunkering event hosted ‘in a very special year’

20 Oct 2020

Resilience. This was arguably the word on the back of everyone’s minds while moderators, speakers, and delegates conducted business at the biennially held Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) 2020.

Rather than cancelling the event and taking a four-year gap in light of the restrictions imposed on social gatherings, SIBCON was held – for the first time – in a virtual environment.

It was attended by over 1,100 attendees from 42 countries who visited the virtual booths about 4,800 times; and around 5,800 connections were made, according to data from organiser Informa.

The much anticipated bunkering event certainly did not disappoint with the announcements of new developments for the bunkering industry.

The following is a key summary of developments at SIBCON 2020 covered by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times.

Tackling bunkering black sheep and malpractice head on

The event started with a matter-of-fact keynote address from Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Ministry of Transport, Chee Hong Tat, who took the lead to address the elephant in the room, amongst other issues.

SMS Chee was open and forthcoming to acknowledge the bunkering industry has its “share of black sheep and cases of malpractice”. Though issues may exist, he made it clear the Singapore government would not hesitate to take firm action and revoke bunkering licences of errant companies.

Major milestone in MFM bunkering – SS660 and TR80

A major highlight of SIBCON 2020 was the launch of bunkering standards SS660 and TR80; a project which the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Chemical Industry Council, Standards Development Organisation, Singapore Standards Council, Enterprise Singapore spent years in the making.

This was an important development as SS660 and TR80 complete the trinity of mass flowmeter (MFM) bunkering standards that enhance the integrity and trust of the entire bunker supply chain in Singapore.

Under TR80, the measurement performance of MFM-equipped Singapore bunker tankers can be verified using a Master MFM; this is a development much welcomed by shipowners.

New business dynamics of the bunkering sector

Tightened credit financing from banks, and logistical issues of conducting crew change operations during the pandemic have resulted in new business dynamics for the bunkering sector.

Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services spoke from the Singapore bunker supplier’s point of view of how the issues can be handled by trust between industry stakeholders, while BIMCO provided its analysis of how bunkering firms can stay competitive during this period.

A deep dive presentation with representatives of Oldendorff Carriers, Hafnia, Total Marine Fuels Global Solutions, Sing Fuels provided further details on how their respective bunkering operations were doing in the post Covid-19 era.

Proposal to mandate ISO 8217:2017 at Singapore port

A noteworthy subject raised at SIBCON 2020 was a public proposal brought up by international fuel testing and inspection firm Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) to have MPA mandate the use of ISO 8217:2017 at Singapore port.

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, Managing Director AMEA at VPS, who made the proposal said 30% of VPS’ shipowner clients are still using the “obsolete” 2005 version of the ISO 8217 marine fuel standard; while 60% currently uses the 2012 version.

“If the industry is not going to use this [latest fuel quality] standard, I think we are in a really tough spot,” he states.

Securing the alternative marine fuels future

With IMO 2020 in effect and new maritime emissions requirements set for 2030 and 2050, stakeholders took the opportunity to use SIBCON 2020 as a springboard to share green shipping developments.

This saw MPA entering into a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to form a Future Fuels Port Network with the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan to align the efforts in driving the development of new fuels.

Pavilion Energy Singapore and Gasum also used the event to announce a collaboration agreement to develop a global LNG bunker supply network for their customers in Singapore and Northern Europe.

Digitisation for the marine fuels industry

The virtually held SIBCON 2020 seemed to be a perfect platform for stakeholders to market the use of technology for supporting bunkering operations.

KPI OceanConnect took the chance to share why voyage management systems and bunker management platforms will undergo digitisation within the next three decades, while a separate session saw MPA sharing an intention to develop smart digital and autonomous bunkering operations at the republic.

Singapore-based maritime solutions firm Claritecs was also given the opportunity to explain why it believes digitisation offers forward thinking bunkering firms a competitive edge though BunkerMAESTRO, a solution aimed at eliminating operational inefficiencies while bringing all parties involved in bunker deliveries on a common platform, and its MFM auto-profiling for quick diagnostics of MFM data.

Manifold Times is proud to be the official media partner of SIBCON 2020; its coverage for the event during this very special year is as follows: 


SIBCON 2020: TMFGS shares view on post IMO 2020 capacity of LNG cargo and bunker market
SIBCON 2020: Stakeholders discuss future of Singapore’s bunkering sector at session finale
SIBCON 2020: KPI OceanConnect CEO discusses digitalisation of the bunkering marketplace
SIBCON 2020: Singapore Bunkering TC Chairman discusses Singapore bunker standards with BIMCO
SIBCON 2020: Deep dive finds how bunker value chain is coping with industry issues post Covid-19
SIBCON 2020: BIMCO Chief Shipping Analyst explains new business dynamics in bunker fuels sector
SIBCON 2020: Singapore enters memorandum of cooperation on future fuels port network
SIBCON 2020: VPS proposes mandate of latest bunker fuel quality standards for Singapore market
SIBCON 2020: Equatorial Marine Fuels provides view on local and global bunker markets post Covid
SIBCON 2020: TR 48 reaps annual savings of at least SGD 80 million for bunkering sector
SIBCON 2020: Singapore introduces new MFM bunkering standards SS 660 and TR 80
SIBCON 2020: Powering Fuels of the Future, Driving towards Decarbonisation
SIBCON 2020: Senior Minister highlights ‘quality resilience and sustainability’ for bunkering sector


Singapore: Master MFM bunker verification gathers international praise; stakeholders explain benefits
Infineum explains: The ability of additives to ‘save’ off-spec VLSFO bunkers depends on these factors
Infineum explains: ISO 8217:2017 should be viewed as ‘minimum performance benchmark’ for VLSFOs
VPS: Shipowners face ‘tricky situation’ to balance VLSFO shelf life and wax appearance temperature
VPS: Big data analysis reveals link between Covid-19 and spike in low flashpoint
Methanex Corporation explains its case for methanol as a marine fuel in interview
Chairman of Technical Committee for Bunkering explains SS 660, TR 80; and cast an eye to the future
Interview: Hafnia shares IMO 2020 preparations, promotes transparency for bunkering operations
Interview: Total Marine Fuels Global Solutions discusses sector growth, IMO 2020, and future plans
SIBCON 2020: Evolution to a ‘completely different’ bunkering industry event, says organiser


Related: NYK line reveals decarbonisation plan in panel on alternative bunker fuels at SIBCON 2020
Related: Pavilion Energy and Gasum to develop global LNG bunker supply network
RelatedSingapore: SIBCON 2020 bunkering event to be hosted virtually
Related: Argus Media: Low carbon marine fuels needed well before 2050
Related: Singapore: LNG bunkering course included in Enhanced Training Support Package


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 20 October, 2020

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