An interview with Michael Green
In the first of a series to mark the new look IBIA Members Newsletter, we speak to IBIA Board Members to gain an insight into their role, background and industry priorities.
This month we meet Michael Green, IBIA Board Member and Chair of the Training & Education working group. He is Global Technical Manager, Intertek ShipCare.
Q: Please can you tell us a bit about yourself and your company?
A: As a company we have been involved with IBIA since January 1997. The original involvement was through Lintec Testing Services Ltd – the company was bought by Intertek in 2005 – and later became Intertek ShipCare in 2011. However, despite the change of ownership and changes to brand marketing we have been corporate members throughout.
My personal involvement with IBIA began in 2012 when I took a more active role in the technical development of the ShipCare brand.
ShipCare operates as a service provider to ship owners/operators focusing mainly on fuel analysis in accordance with the ISO 8217 quality standard and bunker quantity survey operations. Fuel quality is a significant issue for owners/operators and the process of fuel testing is not only important as a damage prevention measure but as a key facet of regulatory compliance.
On a personal level I joined Lintec (Intertek) in November 2004 to perform a dual role between our Darlington and Rotterdam offices. I spent the time between December 2004 and January 2006 spilt between the customer services operation in our Darlington co-ordination centre and our laboratory in Rotterdam where I oversaw our pre-testing operations. I have subsequently occupied the roles of Customer Services Manager (2007 – 2009) and am currently Global Technical Manager, a position held since 2009.
Q: Are there any specific industry issues that are particularly important to you and your business?
A: The two big issues that impact on our business are i) changes in fuel quality and fuel types available to owners/operators ii) on-going legislative change. Both of these actually influence one another in that significant legislative change has a big effect on the fuels available to owners/operators as well as the overall quality.
The last 10 years has seen a number of legislative changes which have resulted in a significant shift in fuel quality patterns and also, most noticeably in the last 12-18 months, the type of fuels being used by vessels.
Q: What are the opportunities for IBIA in your region/industry sector or the future?
A: In our particular sector we work very closely with vessel owners/operators. I think that if IBIA was to develop closer links with owners/operators, it would provide a two-way support mechanism that would be hugely beneficial to both parties.
Such a collaboration would allow IBIA to gain feedback from owners on their current experiences, concerns and considerations for future development and in turn this knowledge would offer IBIA the opportunity to provide support to other owners using its network of contacts depending upon their individual requirements.
One of the key benefits of IBIA, as an industry-wide association, is that its membership covers all of the different sectors. This means that it can offer support/advice to IBIA members, whether they are fuel buyers, traders, ship owners, managers etc. by utilising the shared knowledge and experiences of its other members.
One initiative that is looking to enhance this co-operation is a greater involvement with educational institutions. It is envisaged that closer ties with universities and training colleges will give a greater degree of interaction with young marine professionals. This will build their awareness of IBIA and their understanding of what the association can offer early in their careers. This will hopefully then be carried with them throughout their professional lives, giving and give IBIA a more recognised presence.
Q: What are the challenges for IBIA in your region/industry sector or the future
A: One of the ongoing challenges faced by IBIA is membership growth. If we can continue to grow our membership, then we all have a greater pool of knowledge and experience to draw on. This offers us all an immeasurable benefit, particularly when we are looking to support and guide the development of the industry over the next 10 to 20 years.
Q: How does being a member of IBIA benefit your role and your company?
A: The benefits offered are huge. IBIA, through its forums, working groups and the annual convention offers valuable interaction with fellow industry professionals. This sort of interaction is vital as it allows us to see what is happening across the industry, the developments that are being made and to understand why these changes are coming about.
A strong understanding of all areas of the industry, particularly those that may not immediately affect your day-to-day job but have a strong impact upon the bunkering world, is essential if you are to offer a high service level and progress professionally.
It can be very easy to adopt a one-sided point of view depending upon your particular role within the industry, whether you are more involved with the supply of fuel or if your immediate concern is as a purchaser, but by being involved with IBIA, there are many ways to develop a more holistic industry perspective.
Q: Do you have any message for any members considering getting involved with working groups, regional executive committees or considering standing for the Board?
A: The short answer would be, please do get involved! The more experience and knowledge that the association can draw upon and offer to its members can only strengthen its capabilities and position. IBIA strives to be leading light of the bunkering industry and to do that we need our members to be closely involved.
Q: Any tips for someone considering a career in the bunker industry today? anything you wish you had known/someone had told you when you started out?
A: I would actively encourage anyone to seriously consider a career in the bunkering industry. I have been working with marine fuels for over 10 years and can honestly say that I find it as fascinating today as I did when I first started.
In my current role I do see some issues or topics which pop up time and again, but there is always something during the course of a day which is just that little bit different or unexpected to keep you on your toes.
If I had been told I would be given the opportunity to challenge myself, be part of the progression of the industry and meet some truly remarkable individuals in the process I would have been very sceptical. I consider myself very fortunate, to not only have a job I genuinely enjoy, but one which also affords me the ability to take on an active role within IBIA.
IBIA is the voice of the suppliers and end users of marine fuel. Established in 1992, the Association is managed on a day to day basis by the management team (the secretariat) which is based in London, Singapore and South Africa.
IBIA’s Board of Directors provides governance to the Association. Elected from the membership and aiming to be representative in terms of both geography and business sector, each member serves a three year term with a third of members seeking re-election each year.
The Chair, Vice Chair and Honorary Treasurer are elected by the board members on an annual basis.
The secretariat in Singapore and South Africa benefit from an additional level of governance with an elected Executive Committee (again made up of representative IBIA members) in both locations, providing strategic support and industry intelligence.