SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore will extend the mandatory use of mass-flow-meters to bunker barges delivering distillate fuels to large ships, the port authority said on Friday, ahead of an expected pick-up in the use of distillates to meet caps on sulfur content.
Singapore, the world’s largest marine refueling hub, became the first port to mandate the use of mass-flow-meters (MFMs) in 2017, making them compulsory for marine fuel oil bunker barges licensed by the Maritime Port Authority (MPA).
Along with a crackdown on short deliveries to bunker fuel customers, the meters have improved transparency for buyers and helped boost Singapore’s status as a refueling port.
“The use of the MFM system will enhance transparency in the bunkering process, improve operational efficiency and increase the productivity of the bunkering industry,” the MPA said in a statement.
“This will also prepare the industry for an expected increase in delivery of distillates with the introduction of a 0.5 percent global sulfur cap from 1 January 2020 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO),” said Captain M. Segar, assistant chief executive at the MPA.
The IMO’s new rules will significantly cut the amount of sulfur that the world’s ships can burn in their engines.
Middle distillate fuels, such as marine gasoil, generally contain less sulfur than fuel oil, which has traditionally been the fuel used in large ocean-going vessels. Now, middle distillates are expected to be used increasingly to meet the new restrictions.
“With the growing demand for low sulfur distillate fuels, Sinanju will be retrofitting more than half of our fleet of 13 bunker tankers,” said Desmond Chong, general manager of Singapore’s Sinanju Tankers Holdings in a statement on Friday.
Sinanju’s bunker tanker, the Marine Pamela, is Singapore’s first distillates bunker tanker installed with two flow meter systems and was involved in the test procedures for distillate MFMs, the company said.
The use of MFMs for distillate deliveries will be made compulsory from July 1, 2019, the MPA said.
Singapore set record sales volumes of marine fuels in 2017 for a third straight year.
(The story corrects name of Singapore’s port authority in paragraph two.)
Reporting by Roslan Khasawneh; Editing by Richard Pullin and Tom Hogue