Bulugo enables ship operators to reduce the time and cost involved in sourcing fuel and lubricants by searching an online database of potential suppliers across several criteria – including fuel type, port, date of availability and compliance with IMO sulphur regulations. Fuel suppliers will benefit by tapping into a wider pool of customers, including those that would previously only have been accessible through expensive analogue legwork.Bunker and lubricant trading is one of the few elements of shipping that remains relatively untouched by digitalisation. Opaque pricing, disparate parties and a high level of complexity mean that digital platforms – as with consumer comparison websites – can play an important role in making the market more transparent and less complicated.
The global sulphur cap is a perfect example of increasing cost and complexity. IMO 2020 compliance is upon us, with compliant VLSFO currently trading at a $300/t premium to HSFO at some ports.
On the lubricant side, there are more products than ever on the market, making matching the appropriate lubricant and fuel a more daunting task. Bulugo simplifies both elements. Buyers can filter products to find compliant fuel and purchase the appropriate lubricants at the same time.
According to Bulugo operations director Adrian Phillimore, the marine bunker industry will need to embrace digitalisation to overcome the challenges posed by IMO 2020 and shipping’s decarbonisation.
“Pressure to reduce operating costs whilst addressing climate change makes the bunker industry ripe for technological disruption,” he says. “Bulugo’s smart technology supported by our team’s experience in the marine industry will benefit all users of the platform.”The Bulugo management team has significant experience having worked with oil majors, fuel traders and technology ventures. Adrian Phillimore has been involved in the oil industry for more than 30 years in a variety of senior sales, marketing and business development roles. Partnerships director Grant Norton has similarly spent over 25 years in leading sales and marketing positions in the global oil, gas and energy industries, most recently as head of sales and trading for former BP joint venture Vivergo Fuels.
The founding line up is completed by technical director Peter Rossi, a veteran of delivering large-scale digital platforms, and marketing director Zoe Rossi, who worked with Castrol’s Marine, Energy and Industrial businesses before specialising in brand, marketing and digital strategy.Phillimore concludes: “The strength of our unique digital platform and our sector expertise means that customers can be assured of getting the best price available for their fuel – leaving them to face the future with optimism, whatever it holds.”