‘Bunker Supplier Licensing Scheme’ to solve bunker problems in Rotterdam

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Earlier this month, we outlined industry’s concerns about the escalating bunker problems in Rotterdam, with ship operators explaining that it is very common to receive poor quality service and face short deliveries when they bunker their vessels in the ARA region.

It looks like that the port authorities in the area (Rotterdam, Antwerp & Amsterdam) have now taken action and, in an effort to solve those problems, they are considering to introduce a mandatory regional licensing scheme for bunker suppliers. With such a policy, they expect to boost transparency in the fuel delivery supply chain and improve the overall quality by eliminating possible malpractices.

While it is not yet clear how such a licensing scheme will work, it is expected to be very similar to the model of Singapore, where all bunker suppliers need to be licensed before they are able to operate and supply bunkers. Furthermore, it is expected that those suppliers who do not follow the minimum standards or those who are engaged in any malpractices may be subject to fines or even be banned from supplying bunkers in the area.

The idea of a bunker supplier licensing scheme has been very popular recently, as part of the industry’s plans to become more regulated and more transparent. Specifically, all the major shipping organisations are applying pressure on the IMO to require countries to introduce the use of compulsory bunker supplier licenses, along with specific rules for revoking them if the quality requirements (of the fuel or the service) are not fulfilled or in case no fuel has been supplied for more than a certain period of time.

Despite the initiative to follow Singapore’s paradigm and introduce a Licensing Scheme in the ARA region, a spokesperson from the relevant port authorities explained that unlike Singapore there are not any current plans to make the use of Mass Flow Meters mandatory in the area. While ship operators have explained that installing mass flow meters is worth the investment for all stakeholders and suggested authorities to take steps in this direction, for the time being they are just used voluntarily by some suppliers, the spokesperson explained.

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