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Bunker fuel assurance blockchain platform enters scaling phase

Maritime Blockchain Labs (MBL) has announced the start of a scaling phase of its first demonstration project aimed at enhancing traceability and trust in the bunker fuel supply chain from the supply source to the receiving vessel.

The scaling phase will involve the further development and scaling of the solution, capturing fuel deliveries and associated verified data into the system.

MBL said the work will be undertaken by a consortium formed of shipowners or operators, fuel suppliers, port authorities and a fuel testing body, with MBL inviting interest from stakeholders within these groups to join and co-sponsor this phase of work. It is expected to begin in January 2019.

The project, a fuel assurance platform based on a prototype digital system, was developed earlier this year together with a consortium including International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), Lloyd’s Register FOBAS team, Bostomar, Heidmar, Bimco, GoodFuels and Precious Shipping.

MBL is itself a partnership between Lloyd’s Register Foundation and Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration (BLOC), set up to explore the use of blockchain for the assurance and safety of critical infrastructure and drive new business models for the global maritime industry.

Read more: BLOC forms group to test blockchain for bunker industry

Deanna MacDonald, ceo of BLOC said: “Our demonstrator phase has shown us that dealing with marine fuels’ quality and quantity assurance is an industry wide issue, and that the industry is looking to work together to solve this issue. We’ve built something that for the first time, will allow stakeholders across the global shipping industry to verify and validate transactions across the fuels supply chain.”

She continued: “The recently concluded MEPC73 showed us that there are still burning questions about the availability of compliant fuels post-2020 – and the current epidemic of bad bunker, as it’s been called by Intertanko and others, shows that building traceability and trust in the marine fuels supply chain is one of the most vital issues facing shipping right now.”

The MBL platform provides a chain of custody on quality and quantity documentation points for interested stakeholders within the supply chain, which in turn will provide a decision support system around marine fuels.

This is achieved by using Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology. This technology creates an immutable chain of custody of quality analysis documentation and specification of fuels from the various actors transacting and transferring the fuels throughout the supply chain. The analysis results of the fuel supply are then associated or linked to the specific transaction offering this fuel.

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