At the International Safety@Sea Conference yesterday, Chee Hong Tat, the acting Minister for Transport and senior Minister of State for Finance, announced that the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will launch the digital bunkering initiative on 1 November 2023, and Singapore is thereby becoming the first port in the world to implement electronic bunker delivery notes (e-BDN).

Currently, the maritime industry relies on physical bunker delivery notes, a standard document required by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships that contains information on fuel oil delivery, but at the 80th Marine Environment Protection Committee session, the International Maritime Organization formally approved the use of electronic bunker delivery notes (e-BDNs).

After this approval a hardcopy BDNs or e-BDNs are valid, provided they meet the relevant requirements of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex VI.

As it is reported, the e-BDN will be implemented in order to boost efficiency and transparency during the bunkering process in Singapore MPA, and all involved parties like licenced bunker suppliers, ship owners, operators and crew are encouraged to utilise the mobile and cloud solutions approved by MPA to complete and issue the digital bunkering documents, which in accordance with the MPA can save close to 40,000 man-days per year for the bunker industry.

MPA notes that over 100 trials have been conducted since January 2023, involving more than 20 companies in the Singapore bunkering ecosystem, and response from the users will continue to be gathered to improve these solutions, with plans to make digital bunkering a mandatory requirement by end 2024 including automating the data flow from Mass Flow Meters.