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Regional challenges

Fishing boat in rough seas

Total Lubmarine’s marine managers deal with customer requests and problems all over the world, supplying the lubrication needs of over 6000 ships, arranging deliveries to 1000 ports from 19 offices based in key shipping hubs.

Depending on the regions they are operating in, customers have to deal with different challenges, requiring tailored approaches on the part of marine managers and the teams they lead.

However, some issues transcend regional boundaries and are faced by customers the world over. Regardless of where a ship starts its voyage, it is likely to enter an emission control zone at some stage in its journey, in which it is legally required to stop burning HFO and switch to high distillate, low sulphur fuel. This change in the type of fuel used necessitates a change in lubrication, both during and after the fuel changeover. Any ship sailing in US waters must use environmentally acceptable lubricants on its ship/sea equipment interfaces that comply with the 2013 Vessel General Permit regulation, conforming to specific biodegradability and toxicity limits.

When the real-life operations of shipping companies and regulations ‘meet’ each other, the resulting complexity can leave some operators confused and uncertain as to what is coming next from the regulators. Total Lubmarine’s marine managers ensure that customers are informed well in advance of regulatory deadlines by co-operating with their marketing team who issue notices and briefings.

In some cases, customers are caught unawares by regulations despite forewarning and submit urgent requests to marine managers for lubricant supplies at short notice and in remote locations. On other occasions, it is not regulatory compliance that prompts requests at short notice, but quick changes to voyage schedules – the very nature of shipping. In both cases, thanks to the strength of Total Lubmarine’s network and the flexibility of its structure, customers’ requests can be fulfilled.

Valerie Bijot, marine manager for France and Africa explains:

“We are specialists at tailor made solutions, delivered at short notice and in far-away locations from the major shipping hubs. Our logistics networks are tailored to specific sub-sectors. In parts of Africa, the Caribbean and the Seychelles, commercial tuna fishing is big business with many vessels involved – we are supplying these vessels. We also deliver to remote ports in Angola and Nigeria, servicing offshore support vessels. There are many other subsectors.”

Regarding Total Lubmarine’s reliability, Bijot says: “In cases where the contract says we are obliged to deliver lubricants ordered at short notice in three days, but the customer asks for delivery in one day, we manage one day delivery with a success rate of 70 percent. When customers experience this level of service and reliability, they stay with us.”

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