top of page
  • Writer's pictureLee Kuen

Metcore: Take the right approach in using Mass Flow Metering (MFM) System

Updated: Feb 23

It is a welcome development that global ports have started implementation of mass flow metering system (MFM system) for bunker fuel measurement. Although there are existing regulations for use of mass flow meters for general custody transfer purposes, they are not well enacted for the bunker fuel application. The critical difference is the approach in system set-up and onsite verification prior to custody transfer measurement, as well as the monitoring and control when the MFM system is in operation.

Mass flow meter (MFM) vendors today have taken steps to build their measurement system for bunker application; in-line with the encouraging results from the Singapore market which initiated the mandated use of mass flow meter (MFM) for bunker fuel measurement. However, the international marine refuelling sector, with the exception of Singapore, is still encountering bunker buyers not readily accepting the meter quantity as final and binding.

“The bunker buying culture of ‘trust’ will need to be far more convincing for buyers to accept the delivery figure from MFM-equipped bunkering vessels,” opines Darrick Pang, Managing Director of Metcore International Pte Ltd, a leading marine solutions provider with technical expertise in MFM systems for bunker applications based in Singapore.

“MFMs for bunkering are not plug-and-play systems because they require a large investment for the initial set-up and needs to be maintained regularly. Nevertheless, the success of transparency brought by the MFM system - without a doubt - can be seen in Singapore.”

“Till today, the international bunker trade is still encountering measurement comparison between the delivery bunker tanker and the receiving vessel. It is time for the delivery vessel to build trust while reducing unnecessary downtime in handling disputes.”

“The approach to MFM usage is more important than merely mandating its use because having a half-done initial certification will not do justice to the capability of the MFM system and the high costs of investment. It is as good as remaining status quo in using the conventional measurement method, since it defeats the purpose of ensuring trust and transparency of installing the MFM on-board the bunker takers for bunker fuel measurement.”

Enhanced Trust and Impartiality

The Singapore-based MFM system measurement solutions provider told Manifold Times it welcomed the development of more global key ports mandating use of MFMs that are trusted by international bunker buyers and shipowners alike.

It is crucial for interested stakeholders to tap onto the recognised ISO 22192:2021 'Bunkering of marine fuel using the Coriolis mass flow meter (MFM) system’.  Otherwise, the global bunkering sector may run the risk of evaluating the MFM system based on misaligned practices and operating disparate standards at different international ports.

“Existing national or regional legislations may not provide adequate guidelines on system performance testing. Moreover, the effect on metering for each installed system usually differs during the tanker’s delivery operations,” explained Pang.

“The situation calls for a two-pronged approach: firstly, to level-up with ISO 22192 guidelines, specifically the onsite verification requirements, and secondly, to have an independent and third-party conformity assessment body (CAB) to perform on-site verification on the MFM system in its operating conditions, to maintain impartiality.”

Support of Independent Third-Party Accredited CAB

“The support of an independent third-party accredited conformity assessment body (CAB) to safeguard the impartiality of evaluation and system testing activities at the specific vessel’s own operational level will ensure meter integrity,” believes Pang.

“Having a recognised third party’s independent certification, with reference to recognised and globally accepted standards, with an on-site MFM system verification prior to approval, as well as continual operation monitoring and regular control checks, will go a long way to ensure that the MFM system has the full functionality to provide accurate and trusted bunker measurements as a safeguard against potential disputes.”

Besides having the capability to evaluate the MFM and its associated devices, the CABs would endeavour to have in-depth knowledge of the bunker tankers cargo system set-up and bunkering operations to ensure comprehensive conformity to the relevant guidelines and legislated requirements.

The conformity assessment tests for optimal operational maintenance of the MFM systems for bunkering applications enhance trust and traceability for all stakeholders. This approach also provides a balanced view with representations from the various stakeholders without permitting any one interest to predominate. This will steer the maritime industry towards harmonised conformance framework and digitalisation across global ports.

Digitalisation for Transparency and Traceability

“It is more relevant than ever for bunker measurement practices to be harmonised for transparency and traceability across global ports,” explained Daryl Lim, Quality Manager of Metcore International Pte Ltd.

Lim was among the panel of speakers at ARACON 2023 and discussed with conference delegates from the marine fuel industry about various issues related to the certification of MFM Systems for bunker applications as well as the direction of bunkering to enhance trust and transparency.  He shared the experience of using MFM systems for bunker applications with reference to ISO 22192.

“Moving forward, harmonising of practices using standards with competent and independent conformity assessment approach would enhance trust, transparency and traceability when using the adequately certified MFM system for measurement of bunker fuel; especially in operations requiring continuous reliance on the latest technology in the measurement of marine fuel,” opined Lim.

“Supported by the recognised third party’s independent certification, on-site MFM system verification and regular monitoring of operational controls - all these best practices for digitalisation will serve to strengthen the trust and acceptance of the MFM system’s measurement,” concluded Pang.

Photo credit: Metcore International

Published in Manifold Times on 19 January 2024

66 views0 comments


bottom of page