There are a lot who believe that digitalisation is the major tool which can add reliability and transparency in the complex bunkering industry. In this regard, port of Rotterdam has recently introduced an application called “Timetobunker” which is a tool used to electronically submit planned bunkering.
According to Rotterdam’s bunker manager, the application after a successful pilot phase, under the “BunkerApp” name, is now fully operative and can turn the process into paperless.
Digital submission will be comulsory starting from next year, according to Maud Eijgendeal, since it is a lot more efficient than the traditional procedure and it provides more transparency in regards with the expected bunkering operations. Furthermore, the relevant information can be shared easier and quicker since “Timetobunker” makes it possible to send the relevant information to both the Harbour Master and Customs simultaneously and in a single procedure.
The application eliminates the need to use VHF and Maritime Single Window in order to communicate with the Harbour Master and the Customs and this way bunker productivity is also increased.
However, “Timetobunker” seems to be just the first step of Rotterdam in its road to go paperless. According to Mrs Eijgendeal, electronic bunker delivery notes might follow. Since bunker delivery notes includes important information about the quality and quantity of bunkers delivered, it is a valuable document and can drastically change the status quo in the industy.
Rotterdam port is already discussing with several stakeholders about its plans for replacing the paper delivery notes with electronic and the interest is already high, Mrs Eijgendeal concluded.