Commercial Reasons

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With the increases in fuel costs witnessed in recent years many fuel purchasers are recognizing there are significant cost savings that could be made by taking part in a full marine fuel testing program to identify possible commercial “inaccuracies. Commercial savings can be made by shipping organizations in three key areas:

  • Losses due to density
  • Losses due to water content
  • Losses due to high wear rates on the vessel machinery


Losses due to Density

Marine fuel is physically ordered and delivered by volume but when invoiced to the customer it is sold by weight. This is achieved by a calculation based on the density of the fuel delivered and it is found that with large quantities of fuel significant losses can result if the supplier has over stated his density. With no fuel testing program in place the fuel purchaser will be unaware of the actual density of the fuel and will end up paying for what the delivered weight was based on the supplier's density as stated on the Bunker Delivery Note (BDN)


Losses due to Water Content

The water content as defined by ISO8217:2005 does have an allowable level of 0.5%, therefore we can only consider ‘claimable’ losses above that level.

Using the above example with 1000 m/t being ordered, say the water content is 2.4% but only the excess above 0.5% can be claimed:

 Water content = 19 m/t = USD 13,300 (assuming at USD 700 m/t)

Without this knowledge of water content many of the high water deliveries would go unnoticed by the fuel purchaser, the result being water being paid for rather than oil.


Losses due to High Wear Rates

Some of the operational benefits of a full marine fuel testing program were mentioned in Operational / Technical Reasons during which reference was made to aluminium and silicon, commonly referred to as “catfines”. Over a longer period of time, the commercial implications must also be considered.

Once the level of catfines in a fuel increase above the engine manufacturers maximum level at the point of injection (set at less than 20 mg/kg), the risk to increased wear to the engines fuel pumps, injectors, piston rings and cylinder liners becomes significant.

The industry can show from statistical records that the overall average of aluminium and silicon content is currently around 27 mg/kg. Also, more than half of samples have a combined aluminium plus silicon content in excess of 20 mg/kg thus we are dependent on efficient pre-treatment. This is where the purifier efficiency monitoring can help to ensure wear costs are minimized.

The commercial implications of these higher wear rates is obvious and individual ships can then put a cost on higher wear rates, however this value will be different from one ship to another. What is unanimously agreed is there will be an increased cost!

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