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Written by Lesley Bankes-Hughes for Bunkerspot

Harmonisation of measurement method along the supply chain will lead to a fair trade, says company spokesman. 

It is only a matter of time until mass flowmeter (MFM) technology is implemented at Singapore fuel terminals, says the Business Process Consultant – Bunkering & Fuel Supply Chain at MFM manufacturer Endress+Hauser.

‘We strongly feel that the next thing to come is the installation of MFM systems at the terminal not only for loading bunker fuel to barges but also to receive fuel or any other fluids from the ship that needs to be stored at the terminal,’ Mohamed Abdeni told delegates at International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) Annual Convention held in Singapore last week.

‘We are quite sure this is going to be; [it is] just a question of time to reach the next stage.’

According to Abdeni, the current method of having manual sounding operations conducted before and after unloading product into a terminal is inefficient and prone to human error.

Further, he noted Singapore MFM-equipped bunker tankers frequently encountering ‘significantly different’ bunker cargo readings when compared to delivered figures provided by the terminal.

‘So, if one fuel supplier loses fuel during loading at the terminal he will not be able to make the delivery with the correct volume intact; so it is going to be a loss and this will lead to high difficulties on managing inventory over time,’ explained Abdeni.

Terminals which receive fuel also experience entrained air during the end of the operation (when the delivery ship needs to empty its cargo tanks) and this can lead to additional measurement errors on the terminal side.  

On the other hand, the use of MFM technology by terminals will harmonise the measuring method along the bunker fuel supply chain and lead to a fairer trade at Singapore, he believes.

‘For sure there is operational efficiency and if this is at such a level where there can be mutual trust, there will be no more need for sounding before and after cargo operations. On the other side, terminal operators could also decide to accept MFM readings installed onboard the barge that is receiving the bunker fuel,’ said Abdeni.

‘Real time data can also be introduced and seen online during operations for both the ship and terminal operators. These systems can also be integrated today on control or business systems; even in the future the data can be sent to the authorities if required.

‘These gains will enhance transparency, create visibility for all stakeholders and reduce disputes at the end of the day.

‘It will also help bunker operators better manage their inventory.’ 

This article was provided by Manifold Times through an exclusive media arrangement with Petrospot/Bunkerspot. Manifold Times is a free Singapore-based online boutique bunker information exchange to be officially launched on 1 January, 2018. 

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