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SMW 2024: Digital bunkering the way forward for shipping sector, agree panellists

MPA, ZeroNorth Bunker, Ocean Network Express, Working Group on Electronic Documentation for Bunkering, and SSA spokesmen offer respective thoughts.




SMW 2024: Digital bunkering the way forward for shipping sector, agree panellists

Digital bunkering brings positive contributions to the shipping industry, agreed panellists at the recent Accelerating Digitalisation & Decarbonisation Conference held in Singapore on Tuesday (16 April).

The group, representing various stakeholders of the marine fuels supply chain, shared their perspectives during the Digital Transformation session of the event held as part of Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2024.

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)

“It is quite clear to us digital transformation is going to be part of maritime sector,” said Thomas Ting, Director (Technology & Innovation) / Chief Digital Officer, MPA who added the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in July 2023 announced acceptance of electronic bunker delivery notes for both soft and hard copies.”

“We conceptualised this digital bunkering initiative since 2020 and have been talking to bunker buyers, sellers, traders, and other parties to understand their pain points and while doing so discovered obvious benefits technology brings to the marine fuels industry.”

Mr Ting, who was also moderator of the session, shared MPA launched digital bunkering in November 2023.

“We did it because we believe the industry has and could come up with the solutions and for this transformation to take place, we have to start with available technology to date,” he explained.

“We have already announced four whitelisted solutions for electronic bunker delivery notes and there are other vendors coming up.”

ZeroNorth Bunker

Kenneth Juhls, Managing Director, ZeroNorth Bunker said the technology company, amongst four whitelisted firms providing e-BDN solutions, had the pleasure of engaging with Singapore-based physical bunker suppliers and barge operators in the past four to five months.

“We performed a lot of engagement activities to explain the benefits of having a e-BDN solution to partners including chief engineers and bunker surveyors. I really see the e-BDN solution as an accelerant to other digital solutions as there are so many benefits for all parties out there,” he said.

Juhls pointed out the international maritime sector has been closely following the e-BDN development in Singapore.

“We see a lot of interest and everybody is asking us what is it all about and how will that impact us as bunker buyers. We also see other bunker suppliers in other locations keen to learn more about e-BDN,” he noted.

“Moving forward, we need to adapt the e-BDN solution and engage port authorities around the world. There is a lot of work for solution providers with a lot of investments needed; it’s not going to be easy but definitely doable. The shipping industry will eventually lean into this due to all the benefits.”

Ocean Network Express (ONE)

Richard Ho, Deputy General Manager (Fuel Department), ONE agreed on the benefits of e-BDN and proceeded to provide examples.

“Bunker supply operations are one of most complex delivery processes in shipping due to the huge amount of money and paperwork guided by several regulatory requirements including documentation for surveyors, suppliers and the local port authority,” he said.

“All these jobs create a lot of paperwork which doesn’t stop at end of delivery and continues even after payment of bunker invoices.

“We buy bunker fuel from various ports in the world where some of the traditional paper based BDNs look very different. It takes a team of six to seven people to cross-check these BDNs two to three times to verify various parameters, and the whole process takes several hours to complete.”

According to Mr Ho, e-BDNs paired with mass flowmeters (MFMs) simplify the bunkering process and create a sense of trust between counterparties.

“There is no cost to us as a shipowner; in fact, there are cost savings. With e-BDNs we now have verified and validated information from a single source of truth – which is the MFM – to minimise potential fraud and save time from excessive checks.

“Digital bunkering and e-BDN, which are well aligned with the ONE Digitalisation strategy, is going to have a huge impact on how we do things.”

Working Group on Electronic Documentation for Bunkering

Dennis Ho, Co-Convenor, Working Group on Electronic Documentation for Bunkering, pointed out the rollout of e-BDNs will help push the introduction of a digital bunkering supply chain documentation standard in Singapore – which is currently under public consultation.

The standard specifies requirements for the main types of digital documents utilised and exchanged within bunkering supply chains, aligning with established business practices and bunkering standards.

“The digital bunkering supply chain documentation standard is not just about e-BDNs,” he said, while adding, “it also includes 15 other documents involved in the bunkering process.”

“The working group will continue to do regular reviews and updates when it comes.

“This is just the start of this Standard. As the industry begins to adopt the Standard, we will continue to review the Standard and make updates.”

Mr Ho, who is also the Managing Director of bunker trading firm ElbOil Singapore Pte Ltd, noted commercial banks such as UOB, DBS, together with the Association of Banks in Singapore, have been involved in the creation of the documentation standard.

“We are planning a series of public engagement for the digital bunkering supply chain documentation standard to clear any doubts,” he stated.

“Our hope is eventually, other ports will adopt this standard. Adding on, we recognise the industry players will take time to adopt, hence, we have made the Standard to be backwards compatible as a requirement.”

Singapore Shipping Association

Apostolos Boutos, Marine Fuels Committee Chairman, Singapore Shipping Association stated digital bunkering brings many benefits to both bunker suppliers and ship owners within the maritime ecosystem but highlighted work still needs to be done in certain key areas.

“A lot of shipowners and buyers are still lagging behind in digital bunkering trials and we have to convince them digital bunkering is beneficial,” he pointed out.

“Also, there is the question of who pays for the cost. The responsibility of the bunker barge operator, ship owner, or bunker suppliers as the technical provider for the e-BDN solution is progressively addressed.

“Network connectivity within the port plays a pivotal role in digital bunkering. Gaps in network connectivity, where disruption occurs in some areas of the anchorage where the mobile network is not so strong and of the receiving vessel’s structure interfering with the network connection of the bunker tanker are areas currently being addressed. Though it must be mentioned all e-BDN solution providers offer an offline option too.

“Data security and ownership are also topics being discussed at SSA. Further, there are several e-BDN solution providers in Singapore. Regarding crew training, what happens when a bunkering firm is using solution ‘A’ but another vessel using solution ‘B’ for e-BDN? A current suggestion is for workflow between all e-BDN solution providers to be relatively similar and forms to be standardised.”

Editor’s note: For more information SSA has prepared a detailed FAQ on Digital Bunkering in Singapore which covers various aspects related to the eBDN implementation. The full FAQ document can be found at the SSA website (

Related: IBIA: MEPC 80 confirms acceptance for electronic bunker delivery notes
Related: Singapore set to become first port in the world to debut electronic bunker delivery notes
Related: ZeroNorth enables Golden Island to become Singapore’s first 100% digital bunker supplier
Related: Singapore: EnterpriseSG issues call for public comments on digital bunkering supply chain documentation
Related: Former PA to Hin Leong Trading Founder refutes OK Lim’s claim on his role in firm


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 30 April 2024

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Mass Flowmeter

2050 Marine Energy Owner Adrian Tolson to discuss global MFM adoption in webinar

BIMCO’s 30-minute webinar, titled ‘Getting what you pay for – a novel concept in bunkering?’ will begin at 12:00 UTC on 12 June.





2050 Marine Energy Owner Adrian Tolson to discuss global MFM adoption in webinar

International shipping association BIMCO will be organising a 15+15 webinar featuring 2050 Marine Energy Owner Adrian Tolson on Wednesday (12 June).

Early in 2024, Tolson published a White Paper arguing for the global adoption of calibrated mass flow meters (MFMs) in the bunkering industry. 

He argued that this progress will bring much-needed transparency to bunkering by generating accurate, real-time data for all stakeholders along the marine fuel supply chain. 

Describing the problems for the industry caused by inaccurate quantity measurement he sets out a number of remedial actions.

The paper recognises the success of Singapore’s MFM based bunker licensing system and proposes this as a template for regulators in other regions across the world. 

It calls on all supply chain participants to actively support MFM-based deliveries, promote transparency and encourage digitalisation in the long-term interests of the bunker industry and to help further the decarbonisation goals of the shipping industry. 

“This 15+15 will explore these ideas and assess if there is a chance for real progress,” BIMCO said on its website.

The 30-minute webinar, titled Getting what you pay for – a novel concept in bunkering? begins at 12:00 UTC.

The 15+15 weekly webinars are a 30-minute webinar which includes a 15-minute presentation followed by a 15-minute Q&A.

Note: Those who are interested in attending the online event, can register here


Photo credit: BIMCO
Published: 11 June, 2024

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Alternative Fuels

ExxonMobil advanced 40BN cylinder oil gets WinGD dual fuel engine validation

ExxonMobil announced its advanced 40BN cylinder oil, Mobilgard™ 540 AC, has been validated by WinGD for use in its dual fuel engines with bunker fuels including methanol and now LNG.





RESIZED ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil on Friday (7 June) said its advanced 40BN cylinder oil, Mobilgard™ 540 AC, has been validated by WinGD for use in its dual fuel marine engines with conventional fuels, including methanol, and now LNG. 

The high performance cylinder oil, which also has an approval from MAN ES for use in its two-stroke engines, was developed for use in slow-speed, two-stroke marine engines operating on fuels with up to 0.50% sulphur content, LNG, ethane, methanol and LPG.

Mobilgard 540 AC has demonstrated an excellent ability to keep the engine clean while running in gas mode at optimised low feed rates. The oil is also suitable for methanol operation and with other liquid fuels up to 1.5% sulphur levels. 

This comes in addition to the existing MAN ES Category II approval, positioning the oil as a supreme oil in the two stroke marine engine space.

“Vessel operators need reliable, high performance solutions, now more than ever,” explained Yannis Chatzakis, Global Technology Program Manager at ExxonMobil. 

“This double validation underscores ExxonMobil’s commitment to delivering both. As with all our cylinder oils, Mobilgard 540 AC has been developed using our balanced formulation approach. This helps ensure outstanding protection at optimum feed rates, supporting the peace of mind our customers need.”

Used in conjunction with a next generation scrape-down oil analysis service, such as Mobil℠ Cylinder Condition Monitoring, the cylinder oil can help:

  • Deliver exceptional cleanliness with low-sulphur fuel due to high level of detergenc
  • Combat deposits and scuffing-related engine wear associated with low-sulphur fuels
  • Ensure performance even in severe operating conditions as a result of excellent thermal and oxidative stability

The firm added Mobilgard 540 AC has demonstrated the ability to deliver these benefits while optimising cylinder oil feed-rates and effectively managing acid neutralisation in a range of engines and fuel applications. 

The cylinder oil has already been granted Category II status by MAN ES for use in its two stroke marine diesel engines; the addition of the dual fuel validation from WinGD positions the oil as one of the highest performing in the market.

“ExxonMobil continues to work with stakeholders, including engine OEMs, from across the marine industry as we believe that this offers the best results for our customers and the wider maritime sector,” said Chatzakis.

“The next few years are likely to throw up new challenges as we collectively pursue a lower emissions future. Our commitment to innovation will help achieve that goal.”

Note: Mobilgard 540 AC is available in all major ports. Full details can be found in its Ports & Services Guide -


Photo credit: ExxonMobil
Published: 10 June, 2024

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DNV explores present state of onboard carbon capture in new white paper

DNV’s study examines OCC as a decarbonization solution for shipping by looking at its technical, economic, operational, and regulatory challenges, as well as its integration into CCUS value chain.





DNV explores present state of onboard carbon capture in new white paper

Onboard carbon capture (OCC) is attracting interest within the shipping industry, providing shipowners with the opportunity to continue operating on conventional fuels while reducing emissions, said classification society DNV on Wednesday (5 June).

However, according to DNV’s latest whitepaper The potential of onboard carbon capture in shipping, its success depends on collaboration between regulators, policy makers, industry stakeholders, class, and suppliers.  

With decarbonization targets rapidly approaching, demand for cost-efficient solutions for emission reduction is increasing. DNV’s latest whitepaper explored OCC as a decarbonization solution for shipping by looking at its technical, economic, operational, and regulatory challenges, as well as its integration into the carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) value chain.

CCUS is the process of capturing CO2 and recycling it for future use or permanently storing it in deep underground geological formations. The maritime industry is exploring its application onboard ships, which will require an onboard system to capture, process and store the CO2, and a network of offloading which is integrated into wider CCUS infrastructure.

Chara Georgopoulou, Head of Maritime R&D and Advisory Greece, said: “OCC is expected to be part of a range of future options which will help shipping achieve its decarbonization goals. However, further collaboration and testing is required to verify its performance.”

“The commercial attractiveness of OCC will depend on the terms under which regulations can credit the removal of carbon emissions, and how smoothly it can be integrated into the growing CCUS value chain.” 

For OCC to be relevant for wider application it must be economically viable and competitive with other decarbonization alternatives. If successfully deployed, OCC can become a key way for shipowners to comply with decarbonization regulations, while also helping to reduce the demand for alternative fuels.

The EU ETS is the only regulatory framework currently providing commercial incentives for OCC. To encourage shipowners to adopt the technology, future environmental and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regulations must also provide credit for captured CO2.

“If we are to achieve IMO decarbonization targets, we must leave no stone unturned in continuing to investigate OCC and other potential technologies that can accelerate shipping’s decarbonization journey,” Georgopoulou said.

Note: The paper is available for free download here.


Photo credit: DNV
Published: 10 June, 2024

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