12 December 2013 – With marine fuel costs continuing to represent 60-70% of operating expenses, companies are increasingly focusing on conservation efforts, fuel management and engine efficiency, both for environmental and financial reasons. Related issues include bunkering disputes, shortages and regulations.
In particular, bunker fraud is attracting more and more attention from regulators and the authorities – with one Singapore bunker trader recently receiving a sentence of eight months in jail for stealing close to US$24,000 of fuel oil.
As shipping companies focus on these concerns, young companies brimming with solutions are beginning to cement their market positions. One such company is Singapore’s Ascenz, which has established itself as the Asia Pacific leader in remote monitoring solutions for fuel consumption and bunkering. In addition to having leading OSV and containership companies as part of its customer base, Ascenz has received a number of innovation awards from organisations such as the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and Seatrade Asia. Ascenz is also the preferred partner of Emerson, a Fortune 500 manufacturing and technology company, known for its Micro Motion Coriolis mass flow meter solutions.
BW’s Green Marine Capital initiative has partnered with Ascenz and made an investment to help them expand their business development efforts and build on the services it currently provides to shipowners. “Although there are many companies offering equipment and services related to fuel and bunkering monitoring, Ascenz has differentiated itself through its focus on a simple, reliable and accurate solution, and by its initial focus on Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region,” says GMC Investment Director Gary Ong.
The remote service provided by Ascenz monitors both bunkering and fuel consumption, and sends data directly to fleet management headquarters. This provides accurate real-time data for performance measurement.
Customers can opt to install meters for both fuel consumption and bunkering on their ships, or choose to have only the fuel consumption monitors. Existing customers include Singapore’s Pacific International Lines (PIL), Evergreen, IMC, and several leading offshore players.
Ascenz provides installation services for both the meters and the remote monitoring. Although at first glance Ascenz’s business may appear straightforward, industry feedback suggests this is an area which has been plagued by installation woes, and issues over reliability and robustness.
Ascenz has solved many of these problems, and their many satisfied customers have corroborated this.
Partnership with Emerson for flow and density measurement of fuel oil
Ascenz is a preferred partner of Emerson, the company providing the world’s leading mass flow meters and direct installation services. Mass flow meters is the only way to accurately account for both the volume and density of heavy fuel oil, similar to what is used in petrol stations to measure the volume of gasoline in cars. However, the varying densities and other physical properties of heavy fuel oil lead to large errors when measured using traditional volumetric measurements.
Coriolis meters are non-intrusive – there are no moving parts or obstructions in contact with the fluid being measured. Coriolis meters provide continuous online measurement of mass flow rate, volume flow rate, density, temperature, and batch totals, all from a single device. They have no complex moving parts and require no maintenance, no flow conditioning or straight pipe runs. Unlike volume measurement, mass measurement is independent of operating pressure and temperature, which negates the need for error-prone density conversion.
Singapore and the future
Green Marine Capital joins two other Singapore investors that have previously invested in Ascenz; the National Research Foundation of Singapore and Red Dot Ventures. Going forward, Ascenz plans to build on its strong base in Singapore and the rest of the region. They aim to develop services and other innovative models for their vessel installation and bunker monitoring business.
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