The port of Rotterdam has launched a new pilot project to move bunkering at the port to a paperless, and more efficient, operation.
During the pilot, involving both the port of Rotterdam authority and various bunkering parties at the port, a new app will be trialed, allowing customers to submit bunkering announcements digitally.
All vessels that wish to refuel are required to notify the port authority of the bunkering operation before it is undertaken.
The notifications, or announcements, are made over Very High Frequency (VHF) radio, and the details of the announcement are then entered into various systems manually.
The new app will remove the need for both the VHF radio announcement and the manual input of data — automating the submission process and resulting in greater efficiency and diminished room for human error.
The port of Rotterdam is one of the few ports across the world that publishes bunkering statistics, and as such continues to view data reliability in terms of bunkering as a vital metric.
Read the latest technical paper concerning Rotterdam's new Automated Empty Container Terminal from Joost Achterkamp, CEO of Solid Port Solutions
Additionally, the app pushes the inputted data to the Customs Administration’s Maritime Single Window, which requires all bunkering announcements to be submitted — cutting the need for the involved parties to resubmit the announcement.
The port of Rotterdam is counted as one of the top three bunker ports in the world, with vessels refueling approximately 10 million m³ of bunker fuels a year.
There are around 20,000 bunkering operations undertaken per year at the port, equivalent to 20,000 VHF announcements — the app hopes to streamline and optimize this process.
The pilot project will initially involve bunkering companies VT Group, Unibarge, Titan LNG, FTS Hoftrans, and Transnational Blenders — however, the port of Rotterdam authority has extended an invitation to other fuel suppliers to participate.