Ship operators who rely on a myriad of companies for their global bunkering needs are wasting time, money and energy, Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) claimed.
With no guarantee of standardised quality of products and services in an industry defined by tight margins and cost constraints, this approach is ultimately bad for business, WSS said.
WSS is now offering an alternative- bunker service agreements. These are claimed to provide shipping companies with peace of mind and uniform quality, as WSS’ global agents lead the process for the customer, to help ensure efficient communication, minimised administration and high standards. Everything is streamlined - with predictable pricing for a clear set of deliverables with no hidden extra fees.
WSS estimated that there are over 80,000 bunker-only port calls each year. Although these are relatively simple operational tasks, they come with a complex web of administrative and qualitative considerations, as highlighted by Daniel Wikstroem, Business Manager, Ships Agency, WSS, who said;“Bunker-only calls can be a real headache for ship operators used to high quality, efficiency and performance driven day-to-day operations.”
“Typical bunker calls include up to 40 lines of communication, between an array of parties – including port agents, bunker brokers and bunker surveyors – up to two separate financial transactions, and an excessive administrative workload checking disbursement accounts. Multiply this on a global level, on a port-by-port basis, and there is huge room for unpredictability – in terms of the complex delivery chain – and a massive man-hour inefficiency. And it goes without saying that time is money.
“Shipping firms will rely on their bunker brokers, or procurement departments, to select the right fuel supplier, but what information can they themselves access with regards to typical bunkering times? Reliability? Punctuality? Ease of use? These factors make a real difference between a seamless bunkering process and a convoluted, lengthy and therefore costly one. There’s an opaque area here where it’s very easy to lose time and money,”he explained.
With this in mind, WSS is advising ship operators to adopt a ‘one stop shop’ strategy. The Oslo-headquartered business, which undertook over 4,000 bunker-only calls, at over 150 ports, last year, uses its global network to offer Bunker Service Agreements.
A uniform global bunkering routine ensures that each call runs smoothly, with, amongst other things: pre-arrival formalities and ISPS requirements completed 24 hours prior to arrival; bunker suppliers, surveyors, port authorities and pilots always given vessel ETA updates; service boats always ready for bunkering surveyors upon arrival, and completion; and a strict following up of all bunkering progress, WSS claimed.
Wikstroem said that by switching to the WSS bunkering solution, a typical client performing around 100 annual bunker calls, would save over $20,000 per year through reduced bank transactions and paperless disbursement accounts handling alone.
In addition, WSS’ worldwide operation allows it to accumulate detailed performance records of suppliers, giving it, and its customers, an intimate barge-side knowledge of all bunker operations in all major bunker ports.
“Our completely independent, expert insight can cut through any potential uncertainty relating to suppliers and lead to enhanced decision making… and efficiency,” Wikstroem said.