Singapore is set to become the first port in the world to use electronic bunker delivery notes from Nov 1, with the city-state’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) launching a digital bunkering initiative. The digital notes will replace the physical documents containing information on fuel oil deliveries to vessels. They will be sent via email or an app to the cargo officers, chief engineers, and bunker surveyors on board the vessel. MPA hopes the move will increase operational efficiency and reduce the scope for quantity disputes while reducing paper handling.
The MPA said on Monday that it will work with key stakeholders, such as marine fuel suppliers, ship owners, operators, and crew, to roll out the new system. The system will comprise mobile and cloud-based applications tested and approved by the MPA. They will include features to transmit digital bunker delivery notes and tools for optimizing terminal and bunker craft scheduling and utilization.
These will also be integrated with the Singapore Trade Data Exchange (SGTraDex) to allow data exchange amongst various marine fuel supply chain players. “This is the beginning of a new era for the bunkering industry and will improve productivity in the commodity trade finance space while helping to mitigate against fraud,” the MPA said.
SGTraDex, a project backed by the MPA, has already conducted several pilots, including one in which Angsana Technology used its digital bunkering solution to carry out the world’s first digital BDN transaction with Shell in September. In the trial, cargo officers and chief engineers logged into a web-based platform with a unique link and password to complete the e-BDN. Bunker surveyors inserted the meter reading into the e-BDN before the vessels departed, completing the transaction in less than two hours.
MPA’s assistant chief executive (industry) Kenneth Lim said the full implementation of the digitalization initiative could save the marine fuel industry more than 39,000 person-days a year. He added that the initiative would also reduce business costs at the port ecosystem level.
In addition to the e-BDN system, MPA is setting up an expert group to recommend additional measures to strengthen fuel quality checks in Singapore, such as a database of chemicals with their corresponding concentration limits. This will be in conjunction with the Chemical Metrology Division from Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority and experts from testing laboratories.
He added that MPA will also launch a digital fuel stevedore in late 2024 to enable the digitization of fuel oil receipts and dispatches. The stevedore will be located in the eastern part of the port and fully equipped with the necessary infrastructure, such as sensors and scanners, to digitize the process. The stevedore will help to reduce manual handling of physical paperwork and data entry and improve efficiency in the flow of information, MPA said. It will also help to enhance transparency and accountability in the fuel supply chain.