Rotterdam Won’t Allow Ships Without Bunkering License


In a major development, IBIA has come out in the support of Rotterdam bunker fuel transport license, reports Port News.

Rotterdam is an important bunkering hub and any change in their fuel licensing will have a major impact on maritime trade.

Bunkering Vessels Need License

As of 1 February 2021, bunkering vessels operating in Europe’s biggest bunkering port, and one of the top three in the world, are required to have a license. The bunker license for bunker fuel transporters covers the bunkering or debunking of residual fuels and distillates (fuel oil and diesel) and biodiesel.

The Port of Rotterdam license requirement is the outcome of a detailed consultation process with a full range of stakeholders, both local and international.

  •  IBIA was among those consulted and has been supportive of the development of a licensing system. 
  • It has taken a huge and dedicated effort led by Ron van Gelder, working as a senior advisor for the Harbour Master Division, to get to this point.

Improving Fuel Transparency

The Port of Rotterdam has taken this step in a bid to improve transparency and trust in the bunker market, acknowledging that there have been serious concerns about discrepancies in bunker quantity and quality delivered at the port. 

  • It says the bunkering license “promotes the transparency and traceability of the bunkering process and helps to better safeguard the number of bunkers that are delivered in Rotterdam. The bunker license transporter is therefore of added value for the environment, society and the reputation of the port of Rotterdam as a bunkering port.

Inspired By Singapore & Gibraltar

The Port of Rotterdam has taken inspiration from the success of bunker licensing schemes in Singapore and Gibraltar in reducing disputes, and while its initial license is less comprehensive, it will be up for review and may be adapted.

How will this work?

  • Prior to the license requirement becoming mandatory on 1 February 2021, a total of 24 permits were issued to companies that together represent a fleet of 143 bunker vessels. 
  • The bunkering license for the carrier is valid until 1 February 2023.
  • Prior to the end of the first two years, there will be a review to evaluate the extent to which the license and the regulations need to be amended in response to the experience gained, for example by making a Mass Flow Meter (MFMs) mandatory.

IBIA Hoping for Mandatory MFMs

IBIA had hoped the Port of Rotterdam and other ports in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region would commit to making MFMs mandatory at the start of 2022. There was an ambition to do that during the consultation and planning period during 2019 and early in 2020. For now, it has proven too complex to set up a licensing scheme that covers the entire ARA region.

The Port of Rotterdam has explained that making MFM mandatory “could have a considerable impact on the operational management of the bunker transporters and must therefore be properly substantiated. A decision will be taken on this in 2022 after the evaluation.

How discrepancies will be monitored?

  • To monitor and trace where the discrepancies are in the bunker chain, the Port of Rotterdam has set up a reporting center for complaints, available to all parties in the bunker chain.
  •  Complaints regarding bunkering in Rotterdam can be addressed to

IBIA Will Always Push for Bunkering Licensing

IBIA welcomes the mandatory license for bunker vessels in Rotterdam as a great step forward.

The board of IBIA has made it a priority to push for the implementation of bunkering licensing schemes, including mandatory MFMs, in the world’s top bunkering hubs. Given the very positive impact that mandatory MFMs has had on the bunker market in Singapore, there is a strong argument for introducing this requirement in other major bunkering ports to enhance transparency and reliability regarding delivered volumes, as well as boosting the efficiency of bunkering operations, and reducing disputes.

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Source: PortNews



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