Market will find tools to replace Yahoo IM (updated on June 28)
The end of the Yahoo legacy messenger application (Yahoo IM) in early August is clearly a headache for the bunker industry as it has long been the preferred platform for communication, both between individuals and groups. It has allowed users to quickly communicate bids and offers, and archive the conversations, which is crucial from a legal perspective. The new Yahoo Messenger will reportedly not have this archiving function.
Many now wonder what people will use instead, and we are spoilt for choice. Most bunker traders already use a variety of other tools besides Yahoo IM, including SMS, Skype, WhatsApp, webchat, email or messaging services on dedicated specialist platforms, and as such are not dependent on just one avenue.
This means that there will likely be a period when the bunkering community will be using a range of alternative tools, and it could take a while before a preferred option emerges.
Of course it would be easier if everyone uses the same communication platform, but IBIA cannot advise the bunkering community on what to choose, any more than we can tell the market whether to choose an iPhone or an Android phone.
“I think the market will adapt in its own way regarding communication. When telex left the scene, we all managed to find new ways,” says Henrik Zederkof, CEO of global bunker supplier and trader Dan-Bunkering and an IBIA board member.
When members of the bunkering community choose their communication tools such they will need to think about what is most important, such as the ability to archive conversations, have an application that works both on desktops and mobile devices, the ability to create groups, if they prefer applications that are open to all that free or very cheap to use, or proprietary “member only” applications designed specifically for the needs of bunker buyers, suppliers, traders and brokers, and that feed in live market information such as oil prices.
Both WhatsApp and Skype could potentially replace Yahoo IM if the preference is for platforms that are open to all as they have both mobile and desktop applications that are linked to each other and keep a record of conversations.
Global benchmark pricing services like Platts and Argus currently use Yahoo IM desktop applications for their price assessments and will have to find new solutions. Platts has said it will announce proposed solutions soon. This may include proprietary Platts software. Argus is checking with contacts what they prefer to use instead. Suggestions include Skype, Snapchat, WhatsApp and an instant messenger from ICE designed specifically for the trading community.
IBIA would advise those that communicate with the key price assessment services to let them know their preference, as that may influence what becomes the “winning” communication tool within the bunker industry.
We also invite members to let us know what is their Messenger service of choice – you can mail me at email@example.com
By Unni Einemo
Update on June 28, 2016:
Platts has said it will begin to use the ICE Instant Messenger tool for its communication processes around the Market on Close and eWindow environments, and will support the web versions of Skype and the enterprise level Skype for Business for communication across any market. It added that Platts remains open to accepting messages from existing IM channels as well as phone and email where these mechanisms have been adopted by the markets.