Since the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted many business transactions, a lot has changed with traders and suppliers having to either halt their operations or entirely change how things are done. This has not been any different for maritime transport. Although there are several ways of moving cargo, maritime is still the most trusted and the most on-demand means. With such demand, bunkering is highly needed.
Getting the right bunker fuel supplier is, however, not an easy endeavor, with many companies being linked to fuel contamination cases. Given the high risks that come with different bunkering methods such as ship to ship bunkering, it is wise to always look for the right supplier who will offer bunker delivery services that adhere to the law and are favorable to you as the client. Here are a few tips to make this happen.
In this business, trust is everything. You need to have the assurance that your bunker supplier is an entity that is in the right standing with the law. No one wants to be caught in between dispute cases. These are always complex, lengthy, and worse so, costly. They can paralyze your business for months, making you lose a lot of income.
However, this trust does not come from looking at a supplier and using one’s instincts to judge their legitimacy. It has everything to do with proper research and a reliable record of ethical conduct.
Second, your bunker fuel supplier needs to be insured. A lot can happen during a bunker delivery. In as much as you have taken all precautions no one knows when a disaster will strike. If your supplier is insured, you can be sure that if anything happens during the bunker delivery process you are covered.
This should also be a factor to consider even when you are doing ship to ship bunkering. Different bunkering methods have various risk factors and they can cause irreversible accidents, so it is essential always to be covered throughout the process.
Bunkering operations take a long time and need quality measures in place. For example, the LNG transfer in the ship to ship bunkering needs to be flawless, given that the process involves two ships at sea.
A good bunker supplier should always ensure that the preparation and bunker delivery processes are done with utmost care. In summary, the process should include preparation, performance, and wrap-up. Each of these stages has other operations in between.
For example, the preparation process involves checking the state of the fuel tanks and the residue in them, considering how much fuel is needed, evaluating modes of delivery, and other emergency procedures.
As much as it is within the company’s power, a shipping company should always go for quality fuel and bunkering services over quantity. However, this does not mean that your budget will always match the price quoted by the bunker supplier. The COVID pandemic has hit maritime businesses hard but also the fall in oil prices should reflect these discounts being transferred to you.
However, as you search for a bunker supplier go for a company that adheres to fuel guidelines by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other safety requirements.
Before any transaction is officially given the go-ahead, different terms and conditions have to be met. Before you settle for a bunker supplier, make sure that you agree on every term and condition. It is safer to have these on paper and signed by all relevant parties so that in case of a dispute, you have proof.
Having a lawyer present during these discussions makes the processes more secure. In any case of a disagreement, make sure it is settled before payments are made given that some suppliers have a no-refund policy.
Bunkering is a high-risk process, no matter which method you decide to choose. This is why you need a trustworthy, efficient, and insured supplier. A lot of cases of oil spillage during fuel delivery and ship to ship bunkering, water contamination, and fires have been reported over the years. Such damages cause a lot of losses to both human lives and cargo. The best thing to do is to conduct proper research to get a good bunkering company before you commit.