Marine Fuel Management: Overview
Marine fuel costs represent a major portion of vessel operating costs. Escalating marine fuel oil prices and strict environmental norms has lead to the need for efficient marine fuel management. This leads to increased focus on making the ship more energy efficient by monitoring fuel consumption. Many global environmental agencies have enforced emission standards related to marine fuels; mapping of emissions in designated areas is also a part of fuel management. Marine fuel also known as bunker fuel is heavier distillate product obtained after a vacuum distillation process in refineries. This fuel oil is thick & heavy and thus it needs to be maintained at a proper temperature to control the viscosity.
Efficient fuel monitoring and viscosity control is a major part of marine fuel management. The global marine agencies have declared many areas as emission controlled areas where the limit on sulphur emissions is kept very low. In these areas the heavy fuel oil needs to be switched with another blend of light fuel oil, leading to the need of fuel management system. Ship owners across the globe are now focusing on effectively curbing the fuel costs in this competitive market and an effective marine fuel management system provides an ideal solution to this market scenario.
Marine Fuel Management: Drivers
The increasing bunker fuel prices and stringent environmental rules are the primary drivers to the growth of marine fuel oil management system market. The quality of marine fuels needs to be properly monitored at the time of fueling the ship. The specifications and grade of fuel oil required by the ship engine have to be carefully tested before starting the fueling process. Many new technologies such as Coriolis flow meters are now being adopted by many bunker suppliers and port authorities for fuel oil measurement while fueling the ship. The ISO has fixed specifications for marine fuels supplied worldwide. Efficient blending of different grades of fuel oil to obtain the desired category of marine oil requires the need of fuel oil management system. The additional costs required for installing these equipments and the salaries of the required management staff act as restraints for adoption of this system.
The marine fuel oil management system can be broadly segmented on the basis of monitoring solutions. The monitoring techniques are fuel metering, viscosity control, fuel switching and shaft metering. Fuel monitoring systems are used in measurement of consumption patterns of every engine for different fuel categories and viscosity controllers monitor the viscosity and density of the heavy fuel oil before it enters the engine. Fuel switching system is an effective method of emission control in different areas which enables convenient switching between different grades of fuel oil. On the other hand shaft metering equipments are placed on the shaft to monitor the thrust and torque delivered by the engine of the ship.
Marine Fuel Management: Regional Insight
Europe is the centre for the shipping and bunker fuel market. The major shipping corporations, bunker suppliers and traders are located in Europe. Thus this region provides opportunities for the demand growth of these monitoring systems. The growing Asia Pacific economy and the increasing trade through shipping routes also provides an opportunity for this market segment. Singapore and China are investing huge amounts in this market. Many ship owners and port authorities in these regions have started to invest in these systems to compete in the changing market scenario.
The major players competing in this market are Emerson Process Management, Aquametro AG, Guard Level, FuelTrax and Equatorial Marine Fuel Management.
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