WORK IN PROGRESS
Transition. Transparency. Sustainability. Cooperation. These words feature frequently in current industry conversations that IBIA is part of
As I write this, IBIA is preparing to host our prestigious Annual Dinner in London. It will be our first in-person event since our Annual Dinner in 2020, when we were just entering the new global low-sulphur fuel era. Little did we know, in early 2020, that Covid-19 was about to become a much more problematic global event! Let’s hope that 2022 will be the year when we get past the ravages of this pandemic so we can all be safer and get together in person more often.
So, what do those four buzz-words I mentioned up top mean for IBIA? Many, many things, but let me summarise a few that spring to mind.
Looking back at the past two years, the industry has coped with two major transitions: IMO 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic. IMO 2020 was a significant energy transition as the majority of the industry moved from operating on HSFO to low sulphur fuels, mostly new blends known as VLSFO. Learning to live and work with the social distancing measures imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic was another transition. The bunker industry has proven its resilience and adaptability in both instances. We should take courage from this as we work on the big energy transition required from the industry to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.
We have transitions going on within IBIA as well. This issue sees the final contribution to World Bunkering from Henrik Zederkof as our Chairman. His tenure, against the backdrop of two tumultuous years for the industry, has been extraordinary; he has shown exceptional drive and commitment to the focus areas he outlined for IBIA at the start of his chairmanship. As Henrik’s tenure ends, we are lucky to have another driven individual step into the role; Tim Cosulich, who will become the Chairman of IBIA on 1 April this year. You can find out more about him in this issue’s interview, and I’m sure he will hit the ground running!
The bunker industry suffers from a murky reputation, and much has been said about the need for more transparency to improve matters. An effective bunker licensing scheme and mandatory massflow meters (MFM) has made a big difference in Singapore. Other bunker hubs may benefit from similar licensing programmes, which is why we formed the IBIA Bunker Licensing & MFM Working Group last year. Our major industry survey, launched in close cooperation with BIMCO, is designed to identify industry experiences and attitudes. We hope it will give us insights into the extent of the type of problems that gives the industry a bad reputation, and whether the industry agrees that wider implementation of bunker licensing and MFMs are good tools to improve transparency.
We hear this word a lot, especially in connection with work going on at the IMO and elsewhere to reduce our industry’s negative impact on the environment. But sustainability is not only about the safeguarding and preservation of our ecological environment; it also means protecting human, and economic health and vitality – or in other words, societal needs.
So, for new regulations to be truly sustainable, we need holistic thinking. This is part of the reason the IMO takes so long to develop new regulations. The impact on societies needs to be taken into account, both in terms of the damage done from pollution, and the cost and societal impacts from implementing new regulations to reduce harmful pollution. In addition, the IMO must always consider the safety of ships and crew. The IMO therefore needs to work across several committees to reach the long term aims of having regulations that support the provision of marine fuels that are truly sustainable from a holistic perspective, technically feasible and safe to use.
Cooperation, working together toward goals of mutual interest, is a cornerstone of IBIA’s ethos and activities. Our members operate in very competitive markets, often in direct competition with other IBIA members. Yet, we find that our members contribute constructively in our working groups (WGs) to identify solutions and try to reach common ground. IBIA’s long-standing Technical WG attracts top-level experts which help form well-informed input from IBIA to the IMO and elsewhere. Our more recently formed Future Fuels WG, and the Bunker Licensing & MFM WG mentioned above, are prime examples of cooperation for the benefit of all.
Elsewhere, IBIA has cooperated with several other industry organisations on various items of mutual interest, including IPIECA, BIMCO, OCIMF, CIMAC and IMarEST to mention some. We have worked with them in areas such as joint publications, IMO submissions and discussions, and we had input during the development of the latest BIMCO Bunker Terms.
Cooperation will certainly be needed to get us through the big energy transition that has begun in earnest, to ensure we can go through that transition in a sustainable way. We’re working on it.