Chairman Letter – December 2020

Dear IBIA members,

In times when we are still coping with Covid-19 it is understandable if we feel we are losing touch and so also losing our overview of what is going on. We at IBIA hope that this magazine will assist you in getting that overview.

As we have communicated previously, IBIA is presently working on three major focus areas. Much of our other work, events and involvement are based on, and aligned with:


I am here sharing an update on these three areas, and a reminder that finding new ways will never be easy, but we must show respect for those trying.


The development of our own organisation within IBIA is making steady progress. We are presently on the final stretch toward finalising our interim IBIA Regional board for Africa, which should be operational in early 2021.

The work to establish the interim IBIA Regional Board for the Americas has also been started, and the ambition is to present this by May 2021.

With the already established interim Regional Board for Asia, which has been operative since May 2020, three out of five regional boards will be ready before the summer of 2021, all according to our original plan and intention.

From the summer of 2021 we will start working on the last two regional boards for the Middle East and Europe.

A very important part of the plan is to ensure that the appointed interim boards in the future will be replaced by elected Regional Boards through a democratic and transparent election process.

To ensure that process is done correctly and aligned with the election for the Global Board, we have asked our Legal Working Group to work on a draft proposal on how this process could be handled and what changes it will have to the by-laws of our Association.

For sure this is not an easy task, but with the strong capacities in our legal working group, I feel confident that we will also manage this part of the challenge. 

So, in a short update; the organisational development of IBIA is on track and will further strengthen IBIA’s local involvement and impact, ensuring that IBIA will be both local and global in our work for our members.


IBIA is still determined to push for more bunker licensing schemes, mandatory mass flow meters and a firm control on bunkering procedures in the major bunker hubs of the world. 

Our industry still suffers from a poor reputation and an image of having too many ‘cowboys’; an image that we from IBIA will continue to work on improving. We believe that the efforts of the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) have set the right course to demonstrate how active use of bunker licences and mandatory mass flowmeters can improve the quality of the supply chain and build trust in the industry.

Not long ago the Singapore bunker market was regarded as a “cowboy” market, with prices of delivered bunkers well below prices at the terminals. The MPA’s wisdom and courage has changed that, and today Singapore is an example to be followed by others.

End users, customers and companies involved in the supply chain all accept competition as part of their daily work.  IBIA just wants to make the playing field more even and fairer.

IBIA therefore encourages port authorities and authorities around the world to have the courage to follow in the footsteps of Singapore and implement both a bunker licensing scheme and the mandatory use of mass flow meters. 


What energy will we use for moving goods around the world in the future? That is the question that we all are involved in or influenced by to some extent. With the IMO’s 2030 and 2050 ambitions set on reducing the climate impact of seaborne traffic, we believe the bunker industry needs to be actively involved in the discussion and dialogue, and in the testing of solutions.

On the last point, we have seen companies actively getting involved in researching, developing and testing new forms of energy, some with success and others facing challenges and set-backs, and some even getting negative press coverage when trying to search for solutions.

LNG was a few years back one of the most promising fuels to reduce not just sulphur and particulate matter, but also CO2. We know now that LNG has challenges in regard to methane slip, but today it seems to be a better product than most other current alternatives. Whether LNG produced from bio-mass as opposed to fossil sources can remain a sustainable environmentally friendly fuel of the future after 2050 remains to be seen.  

Investment made in hydrogen as a fuel for ships has been highly regarded as a positive step toward cleaner and CO2 free shipping, but this too has met with resistance and negative comments.

I want to remind us all that we must try to not judge things as black or white or jump to quick conclusions. The above are important steps and examples for all of us to learn what works best toward a sustainable future. On that voyage we will fail repeatably, but only by failing we will learn and it is all part of a steep learning curve that we need to accept and get engaged in to meet the 2030 targets set by the IMO to reduce the carbon intensity of ocean transport, and later the 2050 target to cut overall GHG emission from shipping by at least 50% compared to 2008 levels.

Let’s therefore agree to encourage development to support testing and embrace the failures that naturally will follow and pay respect to those companies that have the courage and ambitions to make a difference for the future.

It is easy to stay on the sidelines and judge others. Instead, let us get into the game and actively support the process and accept that we might have more set-backs and direct failures than wins toward the end goals, but that it is all part of the process when exploring unfamiliar territory.

Looking towards 2021 and reflecting on 2020, we have been riding a roller coaster and faced many new challenges and we all faced times where we felt unsure about the future.  However, such challenges and the way our industry has been able to adapt to an ever-changing environment, has made us very well prepared for 2021., We will continue in IBIA to work on adding value to our members, influence the industry players and focus on continuing on the journey that IBIA is on.

Merry Xmas and a happy New Year to you all.

Henrik Zederkof, IBIA Chairman

This article was first published in the final 2020 edition of World Bunkering, IBIA’s official magazine.

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