September 12, 2019

Building Strong Charter Relationships when Fuel Quality is Dubious

As we pivot into the era of IMO 2020, fuel quality is a topic that is top of mind amidst market uncertainties. Finding ways to mitigate risk and prove resilient under such uncertainties and fuel price pressures will help owners maximize the returns on their individual vessels and come out on top. An under-appreciated reality of this new market, is that owners are responsible for understanding how a variance in fuel quality impacts their vessels. Deviations in the expected calorific values of new fuels will undoubtedly impact charter party agreements and client relationships. For some, not having an accurate understanding of whether or not a vessel has taken on inefficient fuel increases an already high claims risk in 2020 and this increased risk can easily become the largest expense driver for an organization. Therefore, owners must possess a scientific understanding of how fuel quality impacts their vessels in order to make the best business decisions possible. It is becoming increasingly evident that transparent and real-time data is necessary in order to accurately correlate fuel quality to vessel performance.

Having access to a system that can track engine and vessel performance in real-time, while calibrating that performance data to the specific fuel the vessel is using to operate, arms owners and operators with the information necessary to determine whether any overconsumption patterns are due to poor fuel quality or overall vessel inefficiency.

This visibility is key in substantially minimizing claims exposure.  In the event it is poor fuel quality that is the cause of overconsumption, operators can preempt claims filed against them.

Currently, owner-operators are exposing themselves to underperformance claims stemming from poor fuel quality. Those that rely on manual noon-based analyses to substantiate hypotheses around fuel quality are often too slow to effectively fight against the claims.

By leveraging Nautilus Platform, our clients are able to identify overconsumption periods correlated with large deviations in the SFOC curves of their vessel. When the engine requires more fuel to power the propeller, Nautilus Platform captures that change immediately and surfaces it to the relevant stakeholders (with the appropriate criteria set up by the user). When cross-referenced with the historical voyage data in the platform, our platform can automatically ascertain whether overconsumption (whether spiked or consistent) occurred following bunkering events at specific ports and times. Having this transparency into the impact of differing fuel on vessel performance is reducing our clients’ risk exposure in 2020 and making it easier for them to manage the commercials of their business from one unified data set. With the new bunkers coming in 2020 of uncertain bunker quality and even more uncertain quality behavior when commingled (even if there is a positive compatibility test), this gets even more important.

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