Expert's Opinion

Expert commentary: This is what MFMs mean to Singapore

Expert commentary: This is what MFMs mean to Singapore

The use of mass flowmeters (MFMs), a digital technology, in place of manual tank gauging at Singapore officially started this year and understandably this subject has been a mainstay in several news articles on other bunkering publications. 

Much has been said about the advantages MFMs bring to the bunkering scene. But what is MFM to the nation of Singapore and what has caused the ‘little red dot’ to implement such a measure to get all local suppliers to adopt this new measurement system? 

MFMs fits perfectly in Singapore’s 2030 Industry Transformation Map (ITM) under the sea transport sector to apply innovation, raise productivity, increase job skills and internationalise an important port service. MFM will be part of the transformation of Singapore into the next generation hub port.

The ITM strategy seeks to expand and deepen our maritime cluster through digital innovation while strengthening inter-linkages between the maritime and related sectors, and development of the republic’s manpower capabilities.

The use of MFMs for bunker custody transfer not only presents a digital innovation for Singapore, but also extends it globally. The Singapore MFM bunkering project, initiated by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and SPRING Singapore (the national standards body), started in 2009. Since then, the development by the Singapore Technical Committee for Bunkering of a new world-first standard, TR 48 for bunker mass flow metering and its implementation by MPA has been lauded the world over by the international shipping and bunkering community for its transparency, efficiency and fair trading regime. Bunker volume in Singapore grew 2.90% year-on-year in the first eight months of 2017.

The MFM’s quality of measurement or accuracy for determining bunker fuel volume in a transaction has also led to talks with other industries such as oil terminals to consider using the technology to calculate volume during bunker cargo transfers. Good measurement is the basis for good oil inventory management and oil loss control along the supply chain.

Additionally, MFMs strengthen and build new local talent equipped with new knowledge and skills for the full range of bunkering jobs, especially the next generation of Singapore’s bunker surveyors who could export their new skills to other countries that in time adopt MFM technology for bunker fuel transfers.  

Mass adoption of the technology in Singapore will facilitate local maritime companies’ access to markets of interest and prepare their expansion globally. 

Bunker tanker operators and owners too, stand to gain more revenue through increase turnovers and productivity by using MFM technology.

The level playing field which MFMs offer for bunkering enhances trust and integrity that are vital for the Singapore port’s continued success – all in accordance with the goals of Singapore’s 2030 ITM.


 

About the Author:

Seah has pioneered numerous initiatives in the Singapore bunkering industry since 1987. He started and led the Singapore International Bunkering Conference (SIBCON) from 1988 to 1995 while working in the then Port of Singapore Authority. He has formulated and implemented policies such as the licensing of bunker suppliers and bunker craft operators, and bunkering standards SBP, SS CP60, SS CP77 (now known as SS 600) to promote and develop the Singapore bunkering industry.

From 2009 to 2014, Seah was the Convenor for the Working Group on Mass Flow Metering (under the Technical Committee for Bunkering), taking a leadership role in a complex multiple stakeholder project that successfully applied mass flow metering to bunkering. The development of TR 48, published by SPRING Singapore, is directed by the Technical committee for Bunkering.

He is the current Chairman for the Technical Committee for Bunkering under the Singapore Standards Council; a role which he has held since 1992.

Click here for a full description of Seah’s profile.

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Oil Price

Top Ports Price $/mt Change High Low Spread
Singapore 493.38 0.00 514.00 470.00 44.00
Fujairah 506.83 0.00 510.50 500.00 10.50
Rotterdam 450.30 0.00 462.00 438.00 24.00
Hong Kong 494.50 0.00 512.00 474.00 38.00
Antwerp 462.00 0.00 464.00 460.00 4.00
Top Ports Price $/mt Change High Low Spread
Singapore 508.33 0.00 518.00 497.00 21.00
Fujairah 544.83 0.00 582.00 520.50 61.50
Rotterdam 481.50 0.00 490.00 475.00 15.00
Hong Kong 504.50 0.00 528.00 484.00 44.00
Antwerp 488.50 0.00 492.00 485.00 7.00
Top Ports Price $/mt Change High Low Spread
Singapore 708.83 0.00 719.00 696.00 23.00
Fujairah 795.33 0.00 800.00 790.00 10.00
Rotterdam 682.88 0.00 714.00 660.00 54.00
Hong Kong 731.67 0.00 743.00 722.00 21.00
Antwerp 680.00 0.00 680.00 680.00 0.00

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