The bunker industry has traditionally been dogged by a number of prevailing challenges related to the physical transfer of fuel oil from the supplier to the ship. The fundamental problem has been the lack of an easy, accurate and transparent way to measure delivered quantities. Traditional measurement technologies like tank dipping are prone to errors stemming from fluctuations in temperature, volume-to-mass conversions, air content in the fuel, and human factors. The industry has therefore been longing for a more efficient bunkering process and greater confidence in the measurement accuracy for decades.
When Maersk announced its ambition to revolutionize the bunker industry by introducing flowmeters, many experts doubted that it could be done. Measuring flow of up to 1500 cubic meter per hour of thick bunker oil mixed with air seemed an impossible task. After several years of extensive testing on calibration facilities, barges and Maersk vessels, flowmeter software upgrades, and installation modifications, A.P. Moller - Maersk have finally succeeded where prominent companies including oil majors have previously failed; we have a third-party accredited mass measuring device onboard our fleet.
Now, where a certified flowmeter system is present on a vessel, the final and binding reading on how much fuel has been delivered will be taken from this system — removing all doubt and the need for haggling. The efficiency gains drive significant savings for all involved parties: ship-owners/operators avoid costly delays, barge operators increase business, and port authorities avoid congestion.
In the summer of 2011, Maersk Oil Trading was rewarded for the pioneering work carried out in bringing the bunker industry into the 21st century by winning the Seatrade Asia Technical Innovation Award.