Intercargo and RightShip launch centre of excellence for dry bulk shipping

Bulker owners’ association Intercargo and risk management platform RightShip have established an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to reducing operational incidents, improving standards and driving industry best practices in the dry shipping sector.

The Dry Bulk Centre of Excellence (DBCE) will promote the implementation of the Dry Bulk Management Standard (DryBMS) framework – launched in 2021 to raise management standards – and work toward a unified approach to dry bulk safety.

DBCE will operate separately from its founding organisations, and be run by an independent management team led by Ian McLeod. It will adopt a governance model convened by shipowners, managers, and charterers. The DBCE board of directors will be chaired alternatively by representatives from the community of shipowners, shipmanagers and charterers and will have representation from RightShip, Intercargo and other industry stakeholders.

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In the last decade, there have been over 2,000 bulk carrier incidents in which more than 200 seafarers have lost their lives. According to DBCE, this evidence shows that regulation alone is insufficient to drive the highest standards in the dry bulk industry.

“The launch of the DBCE is the next step for the industry in going beyond compliance and achieving excellence, with the support of the DryBMS framework,” McLeod said, adding: “The welfare of crew, protection of the environment, and sustainable operation of assets form the bedrock of this initiative, all of which encourage companies towards better operational practices. This benefits not just shipowners but all in the industry.” 

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The DryBMS framework will remain accessible to the industry, and beginning in May 2024, DBCE will maintain a secure platform where shipowners and managers can complete digital self-assessments against the DryBMS framework, which they can share with charterers. Furthermore, DBCE will establish an impartial self-assessment audit verification procedure to evaluate and compare real performance to self-assessments. DBCE will accredit independent auditors to its specified standard, which companies may employ to audit their self-assessments.

“We urge shipowners, managers, and other stakeholders across the sector, to use this tool and to join us on this transformative journey to make dry bulk shipping stronger, safer, and more sustainable,” McLeod concluded.

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