Use of mass flow meters will lift Singapore bunker sales, but not before a dip


Singapore’s bunker sales volumes are projected to increase substantially with the use of mass flow meters during bunkering operations from 2017, but not before volumes dip in the short term.

Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port with sales of 42.7m metric tonnes in 2013, will also be the world’s first port to mandate the use of mass flow meters during bunkering operations from 1 January 2017, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) announced earlier.

Steven Tan, group director quality and standards, SPRING Singapore, made a bold prediction at SIBCON 2014 held in Singapore that the port will see an increase in bunker sales of 7m metric tonnes a year once the use of mass flow meters kicks in.

On top of higher sales potential, Tan affirmed that the enhanced transparency in bunker transactions will result in 25% improvement in bunker operation efficiency, or up to three hours reduction in refuelling time for bunker operators and suppliers.

However, there is also a potential drawback that Singapore’s annual bunker sales will initially fall by 10-20% due to buyers turning away as the port’s bunker prices are being adjusted upwards, according to Simon Neo, executive director of Piroj International and a committee member of the working group for mass flow meter in Singapore

He believed that since suppliers can no longer shortchange the delivered fuel with the use of mass flow meters, prices will have to increase in return for suppliers to deliver the true volume of oil as the malpractice of ‘buy high, sell low’ will no longer work.

“The fall in bunker sales will be short term as shipowners will very quickly realise the benefits of higher efficiency and time savings, as well as receiving the true volume of oil, when they bunker in Singapore,” Neo told Seatrade Global at the sidelines of the industry conference.

In bunker fuel trading, fuel is sold by mass but delivered by volume. The use of mass flow meters, which measures mass flow rate of a fluid, will allow the fuel quantity to be measured more accurately by mass rather than volume.

Source from : Seatrade Global