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Singapore: IT firms to tackle bunker operations optimisation

06 Jun 2018

A challenge to optimise the scheduling for Singapore bunkering operations has been presented to entrepreneurial IT teams at the Smart Port Challenge 2018, an initiative under the PIER71 innovation programme.

The requirement, jointly presented by Singapore-based bunker tanker operator Sinanju Tankers Holdings and shipping company Pacific Carriers Limited, calls for the development of a ‘real-time’ system to track the timing of vessel arrivals.

“At present, changes to vessel arrival timings are not tracked in real time and only available in varied systems requiring manual checks,” said the challenge statement.

“Sinanju and PCL seek solutions for how bunker suppliers can collaborate to improve utilisation rate of their bunker tankers; while ships can have their bunkers delivered timely and accurately.”

Desmond Chong, General Manager at Sinanju, explained to Manifold Times such an IT solution will benefit the Singapore bunkering industry as a whole due to increased efficiency.

The manual tracking of vessel arrival timings is a time-consuming task for bunker industry players, and can also present potential delay in bunker delivery schedules, introducing possible demurrage charges.

Furthermore, bunkering operations at Singapore have become faster paced with the introduction of mass flow meters (MFMs).

“We are experiencing increased efficiency with the use of MFM technology for fuel oil bunkering and expect operations to streamline further in July 2019 when all distillate bunkers at Singapore will be delivered through MFMs,” he says.

“An IT system to track the timing of vessel arrivals not only brings more efficiency to our bunker supply chain, together with the use of MFMs, but increased reliability as well.”

Bernard Liew, General Manager (Strategic Planning & Corporate Projects) at PCL, is optimistic that a plethora of innovative solutions will arise from the various challenges curated by MPA for the Smart Port Challenge.

“PCL owns and operates over 100 vessels globally, ranging from drybulk, multipurpose vessels, feeder containerships to oil & gas tankers,” he says.

“We live in the digital age, and as a world class organisation that prides itself on reliability and service excellence, we believe it is necessary to constantly evolve ourselves to maximise our productivity and efficiency in order to serve our customers better.

“PCL bunkers 52% of its needs from Singapore. This fuels the desire for us to foster creative and collaborative solutions in bunkering operations to achieve better vessel utilization for both our vessels and bunker barge operators.

“We foresee that an IT solution enabling the tracking of vessel arrivals in ‘real-time’ will be a significant innovation that will lead to greater cost-efficiency and resource optimisation.

We have been partnering with our existing bunker suppliers for more than two decades, and look forward to the opportunity to jointly participate with them in the future on any new solutions that arise from the Smart Port Challenge.”

PIER71 is an industry-wide acceleration programme setup by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore to encourage the maritime industry to adopt innovation and venture into new growth areas through collaboration with technology start-ups.

Photo credit: Pacific Carriers Limited
Published: 6 June, 2018

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