Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Is the marine industry ready to adopt technology that will transform bunker buying?
Jean Hervé Jenn, CEO, Inatech

I have just returned from SIBCON in Singapore and having spent most of my time at the event speaking to customers and the press, my answer would be a resounding yes.

Our industry is ready and with the cost pressures facing the business it couldn’t come quickly enough.

But then as a CEO of a software development and IT services company I am guessing you are not surprised by my answer.

So what is the main reason why the marine industry needs to look at implementing technology to help transform bunker buying?

The biggest reason has to be process efficiency.

Economy impacting our business
Like many industries we have been impacted by the downturn in the global economy. A drop in the demand for goods around the world has resulted in a decline in cargoes, which in turn has reduced cargo prices and led to excess shipping capacity. As revenues have declined so fuel costs have risen. It is estimated that the industry spends over $150 billion on fuel each year. This now represents up to 60 per cent of the total cost of a shipping company’s operations.

Time to act
Our industry is at a turning point. With fuel costs rising and margins being squeezed, now is the time to act in order to remain competitive.

An area where you could make a significant saving with minimal investment is through the introduction of technology and process efficiencies in the area of fuel procurement.

Manual processes driving up costs
From my discussions with clients and prospects I have discovered that many shipping and bunkering operators still rely on labour-intensive, outmoded processes and use excel spread sheets and paper-based systems to handle their global bunker purchasing needs.

This reliance on manual processes can lead to vessels bunkering in ports where fuel prices are high rather than alternative ports offering lower prices; can lead to the capacity of the vessel often being underutilised; or result in bunker requests to procure fuel that are not received by traders on time. The outcome of all these scenarios is higher operating costs.

The solution – technology that transforms bunker buying
By automating fuel procurement and introducing technology, operational savings and fuel purchasing can be reduced. Imagine if you are spending several billion dollars a year on bunker buying, the potential to achieve seemingly tiny incremental improvements by implementing smarter and more efficient processes could add millions of dollars directly to your bottom line.

The next step
So the potential benefits of adopting technology are significant, the next step which technology.

That will be in my next blog.

Jean Hervé

Inatech is a global software and IT services company. The New BunkerTECH Shipping Solution and BunkerTECH Bunkering Solution from Inatech provides real-time fuel and bunker procurement solutions with an intelligent approach that stream lines the buying and selling process, reduces costs and enhances performance.

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