Yesterday, London-based blockchain startup BunkerTrace announced its first commercial deal with Monaco-based ship manager Marfin Management to track marine fuel used by its fleet. BunkerTrace offers a blockchain solution combined with DNA tracing at specific points of the marine fuel supply chain.
Launched in October last year, BunkerTrace is a joint initiative between blockchain firm BLOC and Forecast Technology. BLOC developed a prototype of a blockchain biofuel assurance platform, for quality and quantity compliance. Meanwhile, Forecast has a synthetic DNA tracing system that can identify a batch of fuel by sampling it.
BunkerTrace adds synthetic DNA to marine fuel at various stages within the supply chain. The DNA is a unique identifier and does not affect the usability of the fuel. The blockchain ledger records every transaction in the supply chain and tracks the journey of the fuel as it changes hands along with quality tests.
Now, the BunkerTrace blockchain will be utilized by Marfin for its 11 vessels.
The urgency for such a solution arose mainly due to the recently implemented International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 2020 sulfur cap. The new rule states that bunker fuel must not have a sulfur content of more than 0.5%, a seven-fold decrease than the previous limit.
“We’re delighted to form this alliance with BunkerTrace to ensure our vessels are compliant with IMO 2020 and to manage the risk of non-compliant or contaminated fuel,” said Alex Albertini, CEO of Marfin Management.
Albertini added, “By adding BunkerTrace’s unique tags at specific points of the bunkering process from terminals to bunker barges and being able to validate the stem in real time onboard the vessel, while uploading all the process information on a blockchain infrastructure will create full transparency and accountability for every stakeholder in every bunkering operations.”
Marine fuel, or any kind of fuel for that matter, is blended with other chemicals to increase its combustion rate and improve the performance of engines. Fuel oils naturally contain high levels of sulfur and have to undergo refining to reduce the sulfur content and remove other contaminants. With DNA tagging, users can view critical data such as location, provenance, chain of custody, blending type, and refining process used.
“With the implementation of the IMO sulfur cap, owners, managers, and fuel suppliers need to manage their fuels with greater scrutiny,” said Marc Johnson, CEO of BunkerTrace. “As several new players enter the bunkering market and the use of blended fuel increases, it’s more important than ever that owners and managers have confidence in the fuel they are buying and loading.”
Last year, Ledger Insights reported on two blockchain pilot initiated by BLOC to track biofuels. BLOC, along with the Lloyd’s Register Foundation formed the Maritime Blockchain Labs consortium so the industry can collaborate on blockchain pilots.
Meanwhile, combining DNA tagging and blockchain has been previously explored by Everledger for tracking luxury goods.