Singapore launches digital bunkering for enhanced efficiency

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) launched the digital bunkering initiative on 1 November 2023, becoming the first port in the world to implement electronic bunker delivery notes (e-BDN). 

Bunkering is the process of supplying fuels to ships for their own use. Currently, the maritime industry relies on physical bunker delivery notes, a standard document required by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships that contains information on fuel oil delivery. 

To boost efficiency and transparency during the bunkering process in Singapore, MPA will launch its digital bunkering initiative to implement electronic bunkering processes and documentations, such as e-BDN. 

Over 100 trials have been conducted since January 2023, involving more than 20 companies in the Singapore bunkering ecosystem. Feedback from users will continue to be gathered to improve these solutions with plans to make digital bunkering a mandatory requirement by end 2024. Meanwhile, MPA will continue to explore and work with the industry on other enhancements, including automating the data flow from mass flow meters.

Licensed bunker suppliers, ship owners, operators and crew are encouraged to utilize the mobile and cloud solutions approved by MPA to complete and issue digital bunkering documents, which can save close to 40,000 man-days per year for the bunker industry. 

MPA has approved these solutions to ensure conformance to standards and that they meet cybersecurity, baseline functionality, risk management and regulatory reporting requirements. These digital solutions will automatically relay bunkering-related information required by MPA, thereby reducing compliance costs and improving productivity. 

The digital approach also streamlines workflow and enhances crew safety by eliminating the need for physical transfer of bunker documents between vessels. 

The industry-led Singapore Standards Council is developing a new specification for digital bunkering supply chain documentation and revising the existing SS648:2019 Code of Practice of Bunker Mass Flow Metering to support electronic bunkering documentation. 

MPA is also working with Enterprise Singapore and Workforce Singapore to support maritime companies in the early adoption of digital bunkering and manpower upskilling.

Photo credit: iStock/joyt

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