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Singapore: Industry players weigh in on debunking MFM bunkering flowrate reduction myth

Variety of shipowners and bunker suppliers, including Metcore International and Endress+Hauser, tell Manifold Times if bunkering flowrate has been an issue since introduction into the Singapore bunkering sector.

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A recent survey conducted by independent Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times has found the introduction of coriolis mass flowmeters (MFMs) to have minimally affected the bunkering flowrate of equipped bunker tankers, especially when taken into the context of shipowners’ delivery requirements.

Since 1 January 2017, the local bunkering sector has been conducting MFM bunkering operations for all marine fuel oil deliveries; the programme was extended to include distillate deliveries from 1 July 2019.

Shipowner’s perspective

Major shipowners and operators were keen to share their bunkering experiences at Singapore port with Manifold Times. From the overall survey with shipowners and bunker suppliers, it seems the ideal flowrate for receiving marine fuel was around 500 metric tonnes per hour (t/h) – a standard readily met by Singapore bunker tankers.

“We conduct between 10 to 16 bunkering operations per month at Singapore port and have not experienced any significant reduction of flow rate during bunkering,” a Singapore-based top 10 international ship management source told Manifold Times.

The Director of a dry bulk shipping firm which conducts more than 80 bunkering operations at the republic per month pointed out any delays in bunkering was likely “caused more by inflexible ex-wharf supply and short supplies and congestion [at Singapore port]”.

“The flow rate is fine because within the dry bulk sector we require max rate of up to 500 t/h due to the flange/connection etc,” he stated.

A source from amongst the world’s largest container shipping lines noticed MFMs produced “no negative impact” in delivery flowrates.

“The current MFM flowrate is acceptable for bunker delivery to be completed within the vessel port stay under normal circumstance,” he said. “While having a higher flowrate may sound attractive, the corresponding higher pressure may have safety concerns.”

Bunker supplier’s perspective

Local suppliers experienced with the technical operation of MFM-equipped bunker tankers had more to add when asked if MFMs severely reduced the delivery flowrate of their barges.

A terminal source shared MFMs, including those from manufacturer Endress+Hauser, could perform at up to 1,000 t/h. However, vessel safety would be more of a concern at such a high output.

“On average, delivery throughput of 400 – 500 t/h can be easily achieved with MFMs. In any case, it’s the receiving vessel that has restrictions and they ask us to reduce our flow rate due to the arrangement of their vessel piping system,” he explained.

“Most of the time the receiving vessel cannot take the maximum flow rate given by the bunker tanker. There is nothing to do with restrictions, if any, from MFMs.”

The Director of a bunkering firm noted the importance of getting a correctly sized MFM and pipeline configuration for the bunker tanker to ensure optimal flow.

“The installation of an MFM system onboard a bunker tanker typically introduces between half to one bar of pressure into the piping system which results in a 5-10% drop in flowrate on level ground,” he noted.

“During actual operations, variables affecting flow rates include viscosity, temperature, back pressure from head, whether receiving vessels are restricting the receiving rate, and more.

“At sea, we typically encounter freeboard of between 5 to 20 metres for receiving vessels. In general, we encounter a drop of 1 bar of pressure for every 10 metres but this doesn’t stop us from ensuring throughput of between 400 – 600 t/h for clients.

“This is especially so as a good number of bunker vessels in Singapore have dual cargo pumps rated at 1,000 m3/hr driven by main engines or electric motors which ensure the flowrate of 400 – 600 t/h is easily achievable.”

The owner of another bunker supplier, on the other hand, claimed a 5-10% decrease in flowrate after installation of an MFM onboard a bunker tanker as already a “safe estimation”.

“There is no logical reason for any big drops in flowrate after installing an MFM onboard. Even if there were any drops, this could be easy compensated by increasing pressure from the pump side.”

Other bunker suppliers approached by Manifold Times highlighted their marine fuel delivery vessels had to meet SS 648:2019 - Code of practice for bunker mass flow metering; a locally developed standard which bunker tankers pass before engaging in commercial operations.

SS 648:2019 covers the requirements of bunker quantity measurement using a coriolis MFM system including governs metering system qualification, installation, testing, procedures, and documentation for bunker custody transfer.

“Suggesting the installation of coriolis MFMs onboard to have affected the bunkering flowrate of equipped bunker tankers is not entirely accurate and without context,” noted the Director of a top Singapore bunkering firm.

“Each MFM has a QMax (i.e., the maximum flow rate) which will depend on meter selection, the bunker tanker’s piping system, amongst other variables. Meeting this requirement and more ensures proper delivery.”

Bunker deliveries conducted within the specified minimum (Qmin), maximum (Qmax), and minimum measured quantity (MMQ) flow rates under SS 648:2019 ensures best practice for marine fuel delivery operations, added management personnel of another bunker supplier.

Metcore International

Darrick Pang, Managing Director of Singapore-based MFM system measurement solutions provider Metcore International Pte Ltd (Metcore), shared further technical details with Manifold Times.

“Introduction of any extra instrument such as a MFM within the pipeline of a bunker tanker will definitely affect flowrate but this also depends on how the system has been setup and the way the MFM is installed,” he stated.

“Any pressure drop is normal, and this can be mitigated with correct sizing of the MFM and working with meter vendors to calculate the flowrate before installation.

“Though coriolis MFMs have no mechanical parts, it is typical to experience up to a 1.0 bar pressure drop in a normal cell.

“Flowrate is very very subjective and there are many possibilities affecting it.”

Other areas affecting flowrate after installation of a MFM onboard a bunker tanker include design of its pipe system, type of pumps used, height of the receiving vessel, and more, he added.

Endress+Hauser

In summary, the situation could be best explained by Mohamed Abdenbi, Business Process Consultant, of Endress+Hauser (S.E.A.) Pte. Ltd., the Singapore branch of Swiss-based MFM manufacturer Endress+Hauser.

“We have not heard of MFM systems affecting flowrate of bunker tankers. Reason is that MFMs are sized in a way to achieve optimum condition between pressure drop and accuracy. In addition to that, the availability of different MFM sizes allows us to select the best possible meter without reducing the flow rate during bunker operation.”

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 18 July, 2023

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Newbuilding

Singapore: EPS orders ammonia, LNG dual-fuel vessels from China

EPS signed one contract for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International.

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Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (28 February) said it signed two new contract orders in a signing ceremony in Shanghai, one for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International. 

The contracts signed cover four 210,000 dwt ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers and two 111,000 dwt LNG dual-fuel LR2 oil tankers, expanding our fleet of green vessels on water. 

“These are pivotal for EPS, testament to our continued commitment towards the decarbonisation of shipping,” EPS said in a social media post.

Manifold Times recently reported EPS signing a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Related: Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 1 March 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Malaysia: Port of Tanjung Pelepas completes first LNG bunkering operation

Landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs containership operated by French shipping giant CMA CGM.

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Port of Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd (PTP), a joint venture between MMC Group and APM Terminals, on Wednesday (28 February) announced a significant milestone with the successful completion of its first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering operation. 

The landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) capacity containership operated by French shipping giant, CMA CGM.

Tan Sri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh, Chairman of PTP in a statement remarked this latest milestone demonstrates PTP’s commitment to continuously enhance its competitive advantages in an increasingly competitive global market.

“The successful completion of our first LNG bunkering operation also underscores our unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental leadership. We are proud to partner with Petronas Trading Corporation Sendirian Berhad (PETCO) and CMA CGM on this initiative and showcase PTP’s capabilities as a leading facilitator of clean and efficient maritime operations.”

“This milestone paves the way for further growth in LNG bunkering at PTP, contributing significantly to the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.”

Commenting on this achievement, Mark Hardiman, Chief Executive Officer of PTP stated this latest milestone further highlights PTP’s position as the largest transshipment hub terminal in Malaysia.

“In preparation for the LNG bunkering operation, PTP worked closely since March 2022 with PETCO and CMA CGM, as well as with various other related government agencies to organise table-top exercises (TTX) and workshops, before carrying out the deployment exercise.”

“The success of the bunkering operation is a result of the seamless collaboration and preparations involving rigorous safety procedures through in-depth operational and risk assessments, modelling, and validation. We thank PETCO, CMA CGM all other involved parties for their joint efforts in operationalising the bunkering capability and we welcome partners to work with us to accelerate maritime decarbonisation,” said Hardiman.

Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) is Malaysia’s largest transshipment hub with the capacity to handle 13 million TEUs annually. The port delivers reliable, efficient, and advanced services to major shipping lines and box operators, providing shippers in Malaysia and abroad with extensive connectivity to the global market. PTP is currently ranked 15th among the world top container ports.

 

Photo credit: Port of Tanjung Pelepas
Published: 1 March 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Wallenius Wilhelmsen to order four additional methanol DF PCTCs

Newbuilds will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.

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Wallenius Wilhelmsen PCTC order

Roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen on Tuesday (27 February) declared options to build four additional next-generation Shaper Class pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) vessels.

The 9,300 CEU methanol dual fuel vessels can utilise alternative fuel sources, such as methanol, upon delivery. They will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.

“Together with our customers we are committed to further shaping our industry and accelerating towards net zero. These new vessels are a vital part of that journey,” says Xavier Leroi, EVP & COO Shipping Services.

This latest commitment brings the total number of Shaper Class vessels currently on order with Jinling Shipyard (Jiangsu) to eight. Wallenius Wilhelmsen also retains further options.

The first of the Shaper Class vessels already ordered are expected to be delivered in the second half of 2026. The four additional vessels under the declared options will be delivered between May and November 2027.

 

Photo credit: Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Published: 1 March 2024

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