Singapore adopts digital bunkering and use of e-BDN's


In July 2023, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced the acceptance of bunker delivery notes (BDNs) in either hard copy or digital format as long as they adhere to the pertinent requirements outlined in MARPOL Annex VI. Refer to MEPC.1/Circ.795/Rev.8

Following the announcement from IMO, The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) issued Port Marine Circular No. 12 of 2023, which outlines guidelines for the use of digital bunkering service from November 1, 2023. This comprehensive circular includes:

  • Guidelines tailored for bunker suppliers, bunker operators, and vessels engaged in bunkering operations in Singapore. 
  • Annex A of the circular provides a sample e-BDN

MPA has curated a whitelisting process for digital bunkering solutions, ensuring adherence to stipulated requirements. Currently, solutions from four companies have received approvals. The details about these companies are available on the MPA website.  

MPA will require all bunkering operations in Singapore to go digital (i.e., use electronic processes and documentation) after this initial period, which will be announced later.
The following objectives drive this initiative by MPA:

1. Enhance Efficiency and Productivity:

  • Adoption of electronic forms and workflows to eradicate the need for physical paper processing and routing, addressing more than 10 paper documents associated with each bunkering operation. 
  • Implementation of automated regulatory reporting to facilitate the seamless transmission of bunker data to the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA)

2. Improve Transparency and Confidence:

  • Utilization of electronic records to enhance visibility, integrity, and confidence in bunker trade financing and across B2B entities.

3. Enhance Crew Safety:

  • Implementation of electronic workflows to diminish or eliminate the physical transfer of documents and movement of personnel across vessels.

4. Enable Future Enhancements:

  • Lay the groundwork for future improvements, such as automated data flow from Mass Flow Meters, capturing start time, end time, and mass of bunkers transferred. 

Since January 2023, over 100 field trials involving more than 20 companies in MPA's bunker ecosystem have showcased the industry's commitment to this transformative development. 

Ansuman Ghosh

Director of Risk Assessment