Suitable measuring systems will be identified in the first half of 2023 before determining a deadline for bunkering vessels.

The measure aims to improve the efficiency of the supply of bunker fuels, which with a measuring system can be delivered in real time rather than being calculated from tank level measurements on board the bunker vessel, which is the current standard.



The port authorities also say the measure will make the bunker market more transparent and reliable.

”The port authorities are aware that this measure will have a major impact on the bunker market,” the authorities said in a joint statement. ”Therefore, they choose an ambitious yet realistic deadline. The different companies in the bunker chain will be given sufficient time to adapt to this measure. The requirement will be included in the licence for bunker fuel suppliers. Currently, 40 out of 170 bunker vessels in Rotterdam, Antwerp and Zeebrugge are equipped with a bunker measuring system.”

When Maritime Journal contacted the authorities for further details of the likely fuel cost impact, they said it was too early to say.

”Both the Port of Antwerp-Bruges and the Port of Rotterdam Authority were told from different sides that there would be regular problems regarding the supply of bunker fuels,” they said. ”To investigate the extent and nature of these complaints, the port authorities commissioned independent research and consultancy firm CE Delft to look into the experiences of the parties involved in the bunker market. This study was conducted through interviews and surveys.

”The conclusion is twofold: there are similarities between the two ports and there are structural quantity problems in the bunker market. 80-90% of the survey respondents recognise the issues outlined. 65% of stakeholders interviewed and over 90% of survey respondents see the introduction of the mandatory use of an official bunker measuring system on board bunker vessels as a solution to quantity problems.”