Is there appetite for change in the marine fuels and shipping industry? There are signs that there is.
The IBIA Board of Directors and Secretariat has seen a number of changes recently. Since the last issue of World Bunkering, Henrik Zederkof’s allotted time as our Chair has come to an end. He showed exceptional drive and commitment to the focus areas he outlined for IBIA in 2020. We are lucky to have another driven individual step into the role; Timothy Cosulich, who became the Chair on 1 April this year. In his first Chair’s Letter for World Bunkering, he sets out the Association’s goals for the year ahead.
Work set in motion two years ago continues. We have set up two out of five planned Regional Boards, one for Asia and one for Africa. This allow issues specific to each region to be more thoroughly examined. Also continuing is a focus on decarbonisation, to ensure our industry understands what’s coming and plays a part in necessary changes. Our work on bunker licensing and Mass Flow Meters also continues. A new area of focus outlined by Timothy is integrity, with an initial task to update and strengthen the IBIA Code of Ethics.
Some of these areas are underpinned by the desire for improving transparency in our sector. But what exactly does ‘transparency’ mean? I think it is about building an environment where stakeholders feel comfortable and confident in their dealings with each other. Confidence that they are treated fairly. It means putting in place mechanisms that help build trust, where good practices are rewarded and bad practices are penalised.
Our Licensing and MFM Working Group have just completed analysis of a joint IBIA and BIMCO survey into industry experiences and attitudes. You can read about the key findings in this issue. Two things stand out to me: The percentage of deliveries associated with disputes about quantity (1.61%) and quality (0.98%) was relatively low, yet a clear majority of respondents were in favour of bunker licensing programmes and MFMs as tools to improve transparency and trust in the bunker supply industry. Respondents included a large share of traders and suppliers, over half of the total, so it isn’t just bunker buyers that want this.
When it comes to decarbonisation, I am also witnessing growing appetite for taking steps to get this major transition underway, both in the industry and among Member States at the IMO. The latest IMO intersessional working groups on greenhouse gases (ISWG-GHG) have signalled increasing willingness to develop fuel lifecycle assessment (LCA) guidelines that will take well to wake GHG emissions into account as a basis for new regulatory moves to cut shipping’s GHG emissions. At the moment, regulations account only for tank to wake emissions. I am also seeing agreement emerging that the IMO must put a price on CO2 or CO2 equivalents, though exactly how this will be done still needs to be worked out. And there is growing support for introducing a GHG fuel standard to gradually increase the share of low carbon or renewable fuels used by shipping; which I believe is a crucial regulatory signal to ensure that there will be demand for such fuels even if the price is high.
There is even willingness among shipping organisations and IMO Member States to push for a net-zero GHG target by 2050, when the IMO revises its GHG strategy in 2023. This is a huge commitment compared to the 50% reduction agreed in the initial strategy in 2018.
We all know that stakeholders need to work together to help us reach GHG reduction goals. To that effect, IBIA has recently signed a Coalition partner contract with the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD), and we hope this partnership will be a positive way of ensuring we’re all pulling (or pushing) in the same direction without too much duplication of effort.
I mentioned changes in the IBIA Secretariat. The Regional Manager for IBIA Asia, Alex Tang, left us in April to take up a new position with Intertek Lintec. At the end of April, Noraini Binte Salim left her position as Office Manager for IBIA Asia for family reasons. We are grateful to both for their hard work and dedication to IBIA. As this issue goes to print, we are in the process of recruiting their replacements and look forward to welcoming them to the team.