Address bunker challenges to attract investors – AI Energy urges stakeholders

Theodora Ashare, with microphone, making her submission during the panel discussion at the International Bunker and Industry Association (IBIA) Bunker Shipping conference in Accra

AI Energy Group has called on stakeholders, especially regulators, to find lasting solutions for challenges facing the bunker industry in order to attract buyers into the African markets.

Speaking at the International Bunker and Industry Association (IBIA) Bunker Shipping conference in Accra, Business Development Manager-AI Energy Group, Theodora Ashare, said though the African bunkering industry is promising, there are however challenges which need tactical measures to address them.

She said: “Sometimes when a supply is pending, you need to go through GMA, Customs, NPA etc. just to get approvals to supply these vessels with fuel. Sometimes, because the systems are not all digitalised or synchronised, it’s a bit challenging to get approvals as promptly as you would like”.

She also indicated that though African seas are faced with security challenges, particularly piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, there has however been some significant improvement; and therefore entreated investors not to be discouraged by past events and bunker in African seas.

Francis Kwofie, Manager-Process and Compliance, AI Energy Group, for also appealed to Associations such as IBIA and other stakeholders to conduct research and project quality products in the bunker value chain to help mitigate the negative perceptions sometimes associated with the African bunker industry.

Panellists, who discussed topics such as ‘Navigating Regulatory changes: Impacts on African Bunker Market, Adaptation in the Bunker Business’ among others, said the supply of fuel to vessels could improve if stakeholders, especially regulators in the sector, collaborate with an objective to improve bunkering trade in the African market.

According to the panellists, structures for bunker trade, disparities in pricing, licencing among others – which are among major challenges facing the industry – will improve with better collaboration.

The three day-conference ran from Tuesday, September 5 to Thursday, September 7, and brought together some key players in the bunker trade from various African countries as well as Europe, who discussed latest opportunities and challenges in the bunker and shipping industry.

The 5th edition featured over 20 speakers, who not only threw a spotlight on bunkering business in the African market but also challenges and opportunities – as well as opportunities and strategies for growth.

AI Energy Group offers unique offshore bunkering experience with real-time pictorial and video automated hourly updates to clients while supplying the correct products to its clients.

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) was formed in 1992 to provide an International forum to address concerns of all sectors in the bunker industry.

It is a global network of bunker industry experts who collectively form the world’s leading authority on bunkers. The Association offers pragmatic advice to its members to manage the industry’s challenges as it works to shape and influence both international and local legislation.

Government officials from the Ministry of Energy, regulators, agencies and operators in the bunker and shipping value chain were present at the conference.

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