No new growth expected in Rotterdam bunker licenses


the Port of Rotterdam does not expect many more licenses to be issued to bunker barge operators working in its waters in the near term.

Ron van Gelder, senior advisor to Harbor Master Division of the Port of Rotterdam, gave some details about the licensing regime in an interview with IBIA Director Unni Einemo posted Thursday on the industry organization’s website.

“At the moment we have issued 28 licenses and we don’t expect much more,” van Gelder said in the interview.

“The licenses cover around 157 bunkering facilities (barges), which is more or less consistent with the number of licenses issued by the Port of Antwerp, which issues licenses per barge.”

The licensing regime, covering bunker barge operators in Rotterdam, Flaardingen, Schiedam, Dordrecht, Papendrecht and Zwijndrecht, was launched in February.

If other licenses were to be assigned, they would only be valid until February 2023, just like the licenses awarded so far, said van Gelder.

“The short interval for the license is so that we can see what the impact is, assess if it’s working and what we can do to improve it,” he said.

“This does not mean that after 2023, the license can no longer be adapted, if this is necessary.”

MFM mandate

Van Gelder also explained why the compulsory use of mass flow meters (MFMs) was not introduced as a condition of obtaining a license.

“Requiring a mandatory MFM would have a significant impact on the bunker market,” he said.

“We are convinced that the MFM could make a major contribution to reducing the number of quantity protests.

“However, the bunkers say this is not necessary, if the usual means of measurement are properly managed.

“In order to substantiate the claim (anyway), we hope to have some evidence that will prove the way forward, with or without MFM.”

But he did not rule out an MFM warrant being introduced at a later date, if evidence can be produced that it would be beneficial.

“Depending on the number of complaints or (substantiated) reports that can be directly related to the quantity and the current measurement method on the barges, we can mandate the MFM,” he said.

“Again, only if the complaints can be substantiated by evidence that if an MFM were used, the difference in quantity would be less / no.”

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