Dear IBIA Members and Friends,
As I write, IBIA’s Annual Gala Dinner in London is fast approaching, and this provides me with an opportunity to look back at the past 10 months since I took over as IBIA Chair, and to look ahead at what’s coming next.
I was lucky enough to be elected IBIA Chair at a time when the organisation was once again on solid ground and able to count on a group of dedicated and talented professionals in our Secretariat and on our Board of Directors. Back in April 2022, during our first board meeting, we discussed and set out what the game plan would be for our first term, focusing on integrity and transparency, on the widespread adoption of a bunker licensing scheme including the use of MFM systems, and on generating valuable content to support our members as they navigate the energy transition phase.
At that time, we also decided to continue working on IBIA’s structure, on the creation of Regional Boards, and on strengthening our existing Working Groups.
These focus areas came as a natural extension for what IBIA does as the “voice of the bunker industry” on the international stage. Our Director, Unni Einemo, represents IBIA at the IMO, providing us with the opportunity to literally have a seat at the table where decisions are made. At the same time, our regional conferences and our global events allow members to have a platform to exchange ideas, learn and network at a time when changes happen fast, and information and knowledge are the building blocks for companies to successfully adapt.
2022 was a good year for IBIA, mostly thanks to the time and effort of our Secretariat, our Regional Boards and our Global Board. We ran successful events in Istanbul, Malta, and Houston; we conducted online members meetings, and countless training sessions. Our Global and Regional Board meetings were well attended and always provided for a very lively and constructive debate. Finally, our participation and active contribution at IMO meetings was openly appreciated by a number of industry players and international organisations.
With a few more months to go before the end of my first term, I am very grateful to the IBIA Board of Directors that, back in November 2022, they decided to confirm my chairmanship for one more year. While you will have to bear with me for one more year, the good news is that 2023 will be a year of strong evolution for IBIA.
Our Future Fuels Working Group, led by IBIA Vice Chair Constantinos Capetanakis, has already started working on a Port Readiness project. The Bunker Licensing and MFM Working Group, under the leadership of newly elected WG Chair Rahul Choudhuri, will continue to drive the ambitious agenda, targeting the implementation of bunker licensing and MFMs in the key bunkering hubs around the world. Rotterdam, which has already implemented a licence for bunker transporters, has decided to mandate bunker measuring systems along with the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge. IBIA is ready to support their initiative and press for more ports to follow suit.
In late February, at our (sold out!) Annual Gala Dinner we will celebrate IBIA’s 30th anniversary. An organisation that has been able to adapt to the multiple and radical changes that our industry went through since the 90s, consistently leading the way.
In April 2023, it will be a true honour to welcome IBIA members from around the world in my home city, Genoa, for our Mediterranean Shipping Conference, gathering leaders from our industry to discuss the future of marine fuels, digitalisation, and regional dynamics… and all of this in – admittedly my slightly biased view – one of the best cities in the world!
Let me conclude by thanking those who have contributed to IBIA’s success over the course of 2022, starting with our Director and Secretariat, as well as our Global and Regional Board Members, our Working Group Members, and our events’ sponsors.
We have said many times now that IBIA is a member-led organisation; that idea is very much valid today and I cannot stress enough the importance of your active engagement in the life of the association, whether you are keen on joining a Working Group or a Board, whether you want to be a sponsor or you have an idea for an event that will inspire our members.
I look forward to seeing many of you in London soon, and in Genoa in April!
The above is the Chair’s letter for the Q1, 2023 issue of World Bunkering, the official magazine of IBIA.