Our major aim is to unit the participants of the bunker industry, to assist the constant dialogue of the industry and relevant governmental boodies, to provide "fair play" environment in the industry...



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NEWS ARCHIVE - 02.03.2006

There is no way to deceive the global economic laws

Phantom bunker suppliers

There is a special term in the professional language – “physical bunker supply”. It’s a complex process, including transportation , treatment, delivery, supply of environmentally hazardous organic cargo. Each stage must comply with safety measures, as the bunker products are flammable and ecologically hazardous. Thus, the safety requirements must be applied and controlled in every technological stage, at the berths, shoretanks, equipment exploitation.

At presence there is a great variety of the regulatory documents, but no technical regulations for the industry activities in general. The basic terms can be interpreted differently, but the legislative gaps are very attractive for unfair players, which number is annually multiplying, with doubtful present, past and future, behaving quite confident on the basis of tricky official approval documents. Nowadays, there are about forty bunkering companies in St. Petersburg, considering themselves physical suppliers and effecting fuel supply.

Meanwhile, only small part of them has the infrastructure with appropriate safety facilities. It’s necessary to mention that in Rotterdam, which is the largest European port, there is twice less bunker companies, though the fuel oil bunker market is 8 million tons (i.e. ten times more than in Saint-Petersburg’s port). 


Dogs bark - caravan passes

The state is helpless in the current situation – more than ten administrative agencies, belonging to different ministries, regularly examine well-established loading facilities of reputable bunker companies. At the same time, the companies, leasing the berth facilities on the territories of the regime factories are able to avoid the control.

The efforts, undertaken by the Oil Club, Interagency Commission on the Oil Products Transferal, founders of the Association of Marine and River Bunkers during the last 2 years, had following effect – nowadays almost every company should have the appropriate approval documentation.

However, honestly, we could hardly imagine some berth facilities to be officially approved for loading operations of petroleum products.

It’s not a secret that the plans of OSR (oil spill response), confirming official approval documentation of some companies, were not guaranteed by actual resource base.

This issue was highlighted by the Environmental Committee on the meeting of the Oil Club on the 18th January 2006. Moreover, it was officially declared, that the oil spots are monitored every day. Although, the origin of the spots is undefined – the enterprises, located along the river Neva banks, the vessels, shooting bilge water into the river during night time, are among those, responsible for the spots.

The sanctions to the unfair bunker companies are not so effective, though they seem to sound threatening. Even in case of taking legal proceedings, the pirate-company is able to continue its operation till the verdict is rendered, keeping the position “Dogs bark –caravan passes”.

Greenpeace for yourself

Absence of control in the industry resulted in disregard to the modern bunkering technology requirements by most of the players, who are not going to operate in the industry for a long time. Sometimes, the vessels even take bunkers from the tank-cars at the berth, as there is no formal prohibition to this.

The current situation strongly dissatisfies well-established companies, who permanently invest the safety system and updates appropriate technologies. Such companies are strongly interested in the efficient state regulation of the bunker operations. Currently due to the indefiniteness of the controlling functions the participants hold unequal positions. Those companies, which develop own strong safety systems are turned to be less economically effective than those which ignore this problem.

Law – one, law – two

Therefore under initiative of the leading bunker companies of Saint-Petersburg the industry Association, united in June 2005 the representatives of all shipping regions of the Russian Federation from the Far East to Kaliningrad.

The Association suggested to synchronize the legislative basis with the current market requirements. Lawmaking process has started, though the time limits are difficult to estimate.

However, it should be noted, that the laws are not expected to be something new for the bunker companies. This fact can be confirmed by the large number of the companies willing to become the members of the Association.

The representatives supposed, that the foundation of the Association is necessary and partly imperative move. Firstly, only professionals can work out the state regulation criteria. It is they, who are interested in the development of the industry in accordance with the world standard.

All these initiatives are not aimed at the competition restriction and forcing out smaller companies. Everybody has its own function, say bunker trader, who with the help of laptop and mobile may operate in any port of the world, providing required service to ship-owners. Nevertheless throughout the civilized world, dangerous technical operations are conducted only by the companies with appropriate technical equipment.

There is no way to deceive the global economic laws. Sooner or later, the industry development will be determined by these laws. But the industry has to be protected from the unfair players.



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