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MLB to Test Blockchain in Real-World Bunker Fuel Supply

Maritime Blockchain Labs (MBL), a partnership set up between Lloyd’s Register Foundation and BLOC to explore the use of blockchain in the maritime sector, have launched its first demonstrator project.

The project will see the development of a fuel provenance register that aims to provide information about fuel origin, journey and characteristics.

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

A consortium of ship owners or operators, fuel suppliers, port authorities and a fuel testing body is expected to carry out the testing and MBL is inviting interested stakeholders to co-sponsor the new stage set to begin in January 2019.

A prototype digital system was developed earlier this year together with a consortium including the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), LR’s FOBAS team, Bostomar, Heidmar, BIMCO, Goodfuels and Precious Shipping. The demonstrator phase of the project was funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation.

The development of a marine fuels quality tracing and compliance prototype involved testing in a simulated environment with the consortium in September this year. The demonstrator closed with the prototype being used for the manual capture of the world’s first end to end fuel transaction on a blockchain in the Port of Rotterdam.

“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,”  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.”

MBL’s platform uses Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology that 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, according to MBL.