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Consortium to look at blockchain technology and bunkering

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Blockchain technology promises to increase transparency and traceability in the marine fuel supply chain

JULY 26, 2018 — Blockchain technology could be coming to the bunkering industry. Maritime Blockchain Labs (MBL), a subsidiary of Copenhagen headquartered Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration (BLOC), has identified the bunker industry, with its multiple, complex transactions as an ideal use case where blockchain technology can increase transparency, create better compliance and stronger governance.

Today, Maritime Blockchain Labs (MBL) announced the establishment of a consortium to address traceability and transparency in the marine fuel supply chain, bringing together Lloyd’s Register, Precious Shipping, Bostomar Shipping, BIMCO, International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), and biofuels supplier GoodFuels.

The consortium will evaluate how blockchain technologies could help to provide an efficient, tamper-resistant and auditable chain of custody on quality and quantity recording activities, together with a reputation system of the compliance of fuels prior to purchase, benefitting both buyers and regulatory bodies. Such characteristics help to provide greater confidence in the fuel being purchased, ultimately resulting in reduced safety risk and creating a more trustworthy framework for accurately monitoring emissions from shipping such as sulphur, and carbon.

The project represents the initial stage of a Lloyd’s Register Foundation-funded MBL initiative.

“MBL takes an industry-led approach – meaning that the solutions will be identified, designed, and tested by the industry itself, with MBL facilitating governance and developing the technology to ensure these solutions are relevant and used,” said Deanna MacDonald, CEO and co-founder of BLOC. “A consortium approach is essential due to the need to cross regulatory boundaries and work within different organizational bodies and systems.”

“Too often with blockchain, and digital initiatives in shipping in general, we see a top-down approach where new technology is pushed on the industry,” she added. “However, this means that complex human and governance elements are ignored, limiting the eventual adoption and usefulness of the technology.”

“As an off-taker of marine fuels, it’s vital for us to ensure that the fuel we use is compliant – particularly when we think about the market post-2020, and the need to ensure the quality of blended products coming in to meet the 0.5% sulfur limit,” said Precious Shipping Managing Director Khalid Hashim. “Blockchain is ideally placed to create the reliable chain of custody we need to do this.”

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