A ship may consume hundreds of tons of bunker fuel per day at sea and there may be significant differences in the cost of bunker fuel among bunkering ports. Thus, one has to decide where to buy bunker fuel. Sometimes it may be worthwhile to divert the ship to enter a port just for loading bunker fuel. The additional cost of the ship’s time has to be traded off with the savings in the cost of the fuel. Bunker procurement is overall a commercial decision-making process but nevertheless it has large implications for routine operation decision making as well. Additional cost of ship diversion may not occasionally come into perspective due to split-incentive issues relating to who pays for what when it comes to ship costs. Bunker procurement not only involves operational considerations but also technical considerations.
Due to the increasing fuel price shipping businesses normally use Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) that is of lowest quality and the cheapest in price amongst marine fuels and could be of poor quality if care is not exercised during procurement and use. Control of quality and quantity of fuels purchased, and also on-board fuel treatment can provide significant benefits for safeguarding the machinery from damage but also in terms of energy efficiency.
For the optimum energy gain from a certain grade of fuel it has to be treated with appropriate chemical compound to improve its’ combustion quality. For appropriate atomization of the fuel it needs proper viscosity prior to injection to the combustion chamber. The viscosity is directly related to fuel temperature; therefore, it is of utmost importance to determine the injection temperature for that grade of fuel. This can be achieved either from the bunker delivery note or by lab test of the fuel (MariEMS 2017).