New app could make post 2020 bunker planning simpler

Sarah Carter

Sarah Carter · 08 March 2019

CEO/Director


An App developed by Glencore subsidiary Inatech and already being used by tanker operator Torm, promises to make bunker planning for ship operators simpler and has particular relevance after 2020 when fuel availability may be affected by new IMO sulphur rules.

Inatech, a unit of Glencore that specialises in energy trading risk management systems, has built the ‘Smart Trader’ app to enable companies to map their entire fleet of ships and visualise best routes given sea and port conditions to achieve lowest prices for the desired quality of fuel. The toolkit leverages bunker alerts and pricing data from S&P Global Platts, the leading independent provider of information and benchmark prices for the energy and commodities markets. Torm worked with Inatech on the app’s design and is among the first clients.

With an expected jump in bunker fuel price volatility, Smart Trader enables companies to track their vessels on an integrated system that manages fuel levels on board and updates with live prices and news for supply en route. The interactive platform not only displays which ships in the fleet are running low on fuel but whether their fuel type is compatible with availability and optimal pricing in the direction of travel and, if it’s not, what would be the most optimal rerouting. Potential suppliers are checked for quality and credit references to control counterparty risk. The technology moves the bunker buyer from operational to analytical, continually dissecting and analysing quotes as they’re updated from the full suite of international suppliers.

The app is powered by comprehensive S&P Global Platts data spanning refined wholesale and retail marine fuels including all standard ULSFO, LSFO, IFO, MGO and MDO grades at more than 350 ports worldwide, along with regional indices, 28 day spreads, and moving averages. Smart Trader also includes Platts’ new IMO 2020 compliant 0.5% sulphur cargo price assessments for the ports of Rotterdam, US Atlantic Coast, US Gulf Coast, Fujairah and Singapore, along with intraday news and feature articles to round out a full picture of the global bunker markets.

The app builds on Inatech’s Shiptech platform, which in recent years took bunker trading from Excel spreadsheets and manual tasks to an automated and comprehensive workflow system spanning vessel loading to invoicing.

“Improved technology is vital because the new IMO rules will not only increase costs but could also trigger unprecedented volatility in prices as a widening array of choice between the various fuel oil types skews supply and demand dynamics in what is still a relatively opaque market,” said Inatech CEO Jean-Hervé Jenn. “That motivates our push to broaden the available options for bunker buyers, who will suddenly be immersed in an infinitely more complex market in less than a year’s time.”

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