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SHIPPING & MARINE | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Check out the startup automating Singapore's bunkering segment

Bunker operators are often burdened with changes in the ships’ fuel needs.

Maritime solutions startup Claritecs has created a platform for the bunkering segment, which it believes is underserved when it comes to digitalisation. Refueling ships can be more complicated than it sounds, but the sector typically relies on Excel worksheets to plan the fuel loading and delivery jobs of their fleet of bunker tankers.

Bunker operators are often burdened with the frequent changes in the ships’ arrival times, and the complexities of the types and quantities of fuel needed for each vessel. This is according to Claritecs’ co-founders, CEO Wong Hong Lee, CMO Marianne Choo, and CPO Russell Gomes.

Claritecs’ core service is ‘BunkerMaestro’, a software-as-a-service platform which taps on real-time data sets to monitor movements of ocean-going ships planning to call at their port for fuel or cargo operations. “In layman’s terms, BunkerMaestro is the scheduling solution of fuel deliveries to ships, very much like using Grab and Deliveroo are for food deliveries,” the co-founders said in a joint statement.

The platform uses experience-based algorithms and predictive analytics to help bunker tanker operators auto-schedule their delivery jobs, by matching predicted vessel arrival times, bunker tanker availability, fuel type, and other relevant data. The system will also suggest an alternative bunker tanker when ships are faced with scheduling conflicts.

Any changes in the vessel arrival time can be done through the platform, which sends notifications to each of the parties involved. Bunker operators may oversee their fleet of bunker tankers through the BunkerMaestro’s web portal and generate management reports, with analysis of pumping rates, amount of fuel delivered and other pertinent information.

“Our BunkerMaestro solution has been proven to increase work efficiency by up to 75%, as it reduces the need for manual, repetitive and time-consuming scheduling. With more scheduling transparency, bunker operators may reduce buffer time in between jobs to accommodate potential schedule changes, and take on more jobs,” the co-founders said.

In June 2019, Claritecs secured $850,000 in a pre-series A funding round led by INNOPORT, the corporate venture capital unit of the ship owner and ship management company Bernhard Schulte. It was also attended by a private angel investor from the Singapore maritime industry.

“Their flagship solution BunkerMaestro couldn’t have been launched at a better time.
There has been an increase in the number of fuel types and blends used by ships to comply with international regulations on sulphur content limits in fuels, thereby increasing the complexities of scheduling a bunker tanker fleet to deliver a variety of fuels to meet changing demand,” said Haymon Sinapius, investment manager at INNOPORT. 

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