Executive Director Report

Executive Director Report

IBIA celebrates milestones and forges key partnerships in Q1 2024

The first quarter of 2024 has concluded, marking a period of significant achievements and milestones for IBIA

We commenced the year with an emphatic success, hosting the IBIA Annual Dinner, a hallmark event that welcomed over 1100 esteemed guests to the iconic Grosvenor House. Regarded as the premier networking occasion in marine energy globally, the IBIA Annual Dinner traditionally signifies the commencement of the International Energy (IE) Week each year.

As you read these lines IBIA has a new Chair, Constantinos Capetanakis, Bunkers Director of StarBulk. I eagerly anticipate collaborating closely with Constantinos over the next two years, leveraging his experience and diverse background for the benefit of our association. Furthermore, we extend a warm welcome to our three new board members: Maria Skipper Schwenn, Director of Environmental Regulatory and Public Affairs at Bunker Holding; Ufuk Erinc, CEO of Unerco; and Deanna MacDonald, Founder and CEO of BunkerTrace.

Our thanks to Steve Simms, Principal of Simms Showers, for his dedicated service to the IBIA Board as he concludes his elected term.

IBIA has entered strategic partnerships with two key organisations to bolster industry standards and sustainability in the global maritime sector.

By aligning with BIMCO, the largest international shipping association, and HELMEPA (Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association), a leading Greek marine environmental organisation, IBIA aims to amplify its impact on promoting sustainable practices.

During my recent visit to Singapore, I had the pleasure of meeting with Prof Lynn Loo, CEO of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD). IBIA proudly maintains our coalition partnership with GCDM, a key initiative focused on accelerating the maritime industry’s transition to a low-carbon future.

These collaborations are designed to leverage the distinct expertise and resources of each organisation to address environmental challenges within the maritime industry. Through such partnerships, IBIA seeks to drive positive change and foster a more responsible and efficient bunker industry, setting a new standard for environmental safekeeping and operational excellence.

We recognise the pivotal role of our working groups and the profound impact of member engagement in shaping the future of the bunker industry. These groups, fuelled by the expertise and dedication of our members, are at the forefront of addressing industry challenges and spearheading innovative solutions.

The Bunker Licensing & Mass Flow Meters Working Group, chaired by Rahul Choudhuri, President of Strategic Partnerships, VPS, is taking proactive steps to enhance fuel transaction transparency and integrity across the maritime industry. The group is identifying key ports to initiate discussions on the implementation of Mass Flow Meter (MFM) systems. Furthermore, there is an exploration underway to present at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), emphasising the critical need for a robust bunker licensing scheme. This effort is pivotal in ensuring that fuel transactions are transparent, and that the integrity of the bunker industry is maintained.

In addressing the industry’s shift toward more sustainable energy sources, the Future Fuels Working Group, under the guidance of Constantinos Capetanakis, IBIA’s Chair, is focusing on educational initiatives. The group is currently developing a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that concentrates on alternative fuels. This document aims to keep our members comprehensively informed about current and projected developments on Future Fuels and prepare the maritime community for the transition to greener energy sources, ensuring that stakeholders are well-informed and ready for upcoming changes in energy consumption.

Meanwhile, the Digitalisation Working Group is advancing the optimisation of the bunker value chain, developing a presentation to highlight key digitalisation opportunities, assess maturity levels, and define potential challenges. The group is also clarifying the benefits and operational impacts of Electronic Bunker Delivery Notes (eBDNs) to deepen industry understanding. This initiative is crucial for modernising the bunker industry. Additionally, Kenneth Juhls, Managing Director of ZeroNorth Bunker and Chair of the group, recently led an enlightening discussion on digitalisation trends in the bunker industry in a recent members’ meeting.

Our engagement with members remains strong, with two successful virtual members’ meetings already held. The first one this year featured Dr. Edmund Hughes, IBIA’s IMO Representative, who provided exclusive insights from his recent attendance at International Maritime Organization (IMO) sessions, including the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 81) and the Intersessional Meeting of the Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 16).

I had the privilege of joining our Singapore team and Asia Regional Board to host the IBIA Asia Dinner, a sold-out event that coincided with Singapore Maritime Week in April. We were honoured to welcome the IMO Secretary-General, Arsenio Dominguez, on his inaugural visit to the region, marking another significant milestone for IBIA in Asia.

I also actively participated in several key industry events globally. At the CMA Shipping conference in Stamford, USA, I spoke on the ‘State of the Industry Panel | Status Check on the Maritime Industry in 2040.’ Additionally, my involvement in the International Bunker Conference (IBC) allowed me to engage in a fascinating Fire Chat panel. These engagements underscore IBIA’s commitment to leading discussions that shape the future of our industry.

As Posidonia Week kicks off in June, we eagerly anticipate hosting the IBIA Posidonia Cocktail Reception, a premier networking event uniting the shipping and marine energy/bunker industries.

This will be followed by the IBIA Annual Convention in November, concluding our yearly events calendar. Both events are set in Athens, Greece – my hometown, a prominent global shipping hub.

The IBIA Secretariat is committed in its efforts to modernise processes and embrace digitalisation. The implementation of new HR software and the impending rollout of a CRM/ERP system signify pivotal steps towards enhancing operational efficiency and better member support.

Furthermore, we are diligently crafting the positioning and strategy of our association for the years ahead, drawing upon valuable insights gathered from the recent perception audit survey.

Your contributions are instrumental in shaping the future trajectory of IBIA.

As IBIA moves onwards and upwards, the unwavering support and engagement of our members remain paramount.

Together, we embark on this journey towards a brighter, more sustainable future for the bunker / marine energy industry.


Alexander Prokopakis

IBIA Executive Director


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