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Algoma Central Corporation Optimizes its Fuel Supply Chain with StormGeo’s Bunker Management Platform

As one of Canada’s leading marine shipping companies, Algoma Central Corporation has long grappled with the complexities of fuel procurement processes. Until now. In its pursuit of greater visibility, control, and optimization of its fuel supply chain, the company has found a steadfast ally in StormGeo’s Bunker Management platform. 

Headquartered in St. Catharines, Ontario, Algoma owns the largest fleet of vessels operating in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway. The company also owns and operates ocean self-unloading dry-bulk vessels globally and holds 50% interests in joint ventures that own a diversified portfolio of dry and liquid bulk fleets.

To ensure sustainable operations, enhanced supply chain visibility, and better control of fuel costs, Algoma has added StormGeo’s s-Insight | Bunker Management to its toolbox. This platform has been instrumental in streamlining the company’s bunker planning and procurement.

“Without a doubt, the investment in StormGeo’s Bunker Management solution has proven to be invaluable for us,” says Rubin Varghese, Strategic Procurement Manager at Algoma. “One of the most notable impacts has been the enhanced visibility into our fuel supply chain. This feature alone has been instrumental in our ability to make informed, real-time decisions, thereby significantly improving our operational efficiency.”

From traditional spreadsheets to advanced bunker optimization

StormGeo’s Bunker Management platform leverages advanced AI and machine learning algorithms to help shipping companies manage fuel costs, identify risks, and make optimal operational decisions. This platform allows Algoma to manage its bunker workflow from a single view, get the most accurate market insights, and eliminate outdated spreadsheets and time-consuming manual work.  

“Voyages can change, and without access to live updates, it’s easy to miss crucial information. Flipping through a bunch of emails is a big nightmare,” Varghese says of the traditional approach to bunker management. “Switching from traditional spreadsheets to a bunker optimization platform has significantly enhanced our communication and analytics, enabled real-time market intelligence, and automated our most time-consuming workflow tasks.”

To ensure the platform was set up for success, Algoma gained access to StormGeo’s pool of experts, working closely with bunker professionals on a range of activities to optimize their fuel procurement processes. Among the key activities were identifying Algoma’s pain points and crafting algorithms tailored to their specific needs. These algorithms factored in variables such as available fuel ports, vessel schedules, tank capacities, and minimum ordering quantities – all intending to maximize vessel efficiency. 

“The primary goal of this initial phase was to develop a forward-forecasting model tailored to our requirements,” Varghese says. “This model was designed to predict our fuel needs in each port and for each vendor, thereby enabling more strategic procurement decisions. The culmination of this effort marked a significant transition for us, moving away from a traditional spreadsheet-based approach to a robust, integrated environment in coordination with our voyage management system.”

Enabling sustainable operations

StormGeo’s Bunker Management platform also helps Algoma enable sustainable operations. As part of its overarching commitment to reduce its carbon footprint, Algoma recently set out to rigorously evaluate the operational feasibility and supply chain availability of various biofuel grades, including B20, B50, and B100, across five of its vessels. A pivotal element of this initiative’s success hinged on their ability to precisely forecast the volume of biofuel needed.

“Accurate forecasting is crucial not only for our internal planning but also for enabling our vendors to manage their upstream and downstream supply chains effectively,” Varghese says.

Recognizing the importance of these accurate forecasting capabilities, StormGeo swiftly incorporated a new Biofuel feature into its s-Insight | Bunker Management solution.

“Before the implementation of the new Biofuel feature, one of our key challenges was the absence of a system that could accurately forecast our biofuel needs. This was particularly critical as Algoma was in the midst of trialing various biofuel grades on multiple vessels,” Varghese says. “The new feature has streamlined our fuel procurement process and made it easier for us to make sustainable choices.”


Bunker procurement processes for the 21st century

Managing fuel procurement processes is challenging without the appropriate technology. With the help of StormGeo, Algoma has lifted its procurement processes into the 21st century, enhancing supply chain visibility and efficiency.  

“The precise forecasting allows us to buy the right amount of fuel at the most opportune times and locations, mitigating the risks associated with price volatility,” Varghese says. “Thus, the product has not only delivered tangible financial benefits but has also served as a catalyst for operational improvements, making the investment unquestionably worthwhile.”

“I would highly recommend StormGeo’s Bunker Management platform for any shipping company looking to optimize their fuel procurement process,” Varghese concludes.