Justin Murphy, who took up the position of Chief Executive Officer at the International Bunker Industry Association in mid-February this year, brings with him an impressive and relevant leadership record. He has held director and board positions at several firms involved in shipping around the world, including Brightoil, Teekay, AET, Macquarie Bank and most recently Acuity Shipping.
WB: What made you apply for the role at IBIA, and has it been what you expected?
JM: The CEO role at IBIA was appealing because of the global scope of the job, the interaction with our membership and also the sense that our entire industry is going through some significant changes that are unprecedented in the space of just one generation. It’s an exciting and challenging time to join IBIA, and the role has been every bit as challenging as I had hoped that it would be.
WB: Has your impression of the bunker industry and IBIA changed since you took up the post?
JM: I haven’t stopped learning since day one. Over the past few years I’ve been directly and indirectly involved in the bunkering industry and mainly seen the business from a ship owner’s perspective.
This included being responsible for the bunkering activity at what was then the world’s largest publicly listed tanker owner; working in the Commodity Division of an entrepreneurial investment bank who structured risk management products for fuels buyers; and as CEO at Brightoil Shipping Singapore, where we were one of the very earliest operators of mass flow meters (even having them installed on our Aframax and VLCC tankers as well as the bunker barges).
However, over the past few months I’ve also come to appreciate that the range of specialisms across our industry is a vast area that no single person can legitimately claim to cover. This factor also highlights the value that IBIA can bring to its membership.
IBIA has access to all of this specialist knowledge around the globe and is able to harness this for the benefit of its membership. I’m constantly reminded of this through my interaction with our members – whether these are surveyors, chief engineers, laboratory testing specialists, chemical engineers, lawyers, terminal or port operators.
WB: Where do you see IBIA playing a role and what are your thoughts on how IBIA can best serve its members?
JM: The needs of our members vary greatly due to the significant difference in the size and activities of the companies that we represent (we also have many individual members). However, even in the largest companies we are still dealing with individuals. It’s important that we listen to the concerns and meet the needs of every one of these bunker industry professionals.
Good communication and the two-way flow of knowledge is the life blood of an organisation like ours. We are working hard to reduce any barriers to communication (such as our internal systems and processes). This corporate detox will ensure that our arteries are unclogged and that IBIA is functioning healthily, so we’ll be better equipped to meet our members’ needs.
In 2018 one of our key priorities will be education. In fact, we have already held discussions with the board and begun to engage with potential partners. We have ambitious goals when it comes to education and will have to approach these on a phased basis.
This will enable us to better understand and appreciate the needs
of the industry and allow room for us to adapt.
Across the board, not only with education, partnerships will prove to be an important factor in developing IBIA’s future. We do have resource constraints and therefore partnering with quality-oriented companies that can complement our own needs is a more cost effective way of achieving our goals.
WB: You have identified four key initiatives for IBIA in 2017, namely
the development of the IBIA Supplier’s Guide to Best Practice;
the IBIA Guide to Best Ethical Practice, the IBIA Port Charter Accreditation; and the IBIA 2020 Working Group. When and how do you think IBIA will be able to deliver on these initiatives?
JM: The key point is that we will deliver on these initiatives and it’s very much case of action rather than words at IBIA these days. Each of these initiatives will deliver tangible benefits to our membership and each of these initiatives will reflect the input of our membership.
The two guides and the Port Charter Accreditation will each result in
a document whereas the 2020 Working Group will be managed via an online portal. We’ll be providing an update on each of these at our convention in Singapore on 8-9 November. The Convention will be
a great opportunity to network, to attend training events and to participate in the debates at the convention.
WB: How would you like to see IBIA evolve, and where do you
see its priorities in the future?
JM: We have a very clear vision of where we are going. Today IBIA is not meeting its full potential. We have recognised this as a board and our focus is now on improving our membership value proposition and on our project execution skills. Our members deserve the best and we’ll deliver it for them.
We will become a leading global membership organisation, with a fully engaged global membership and recognised as the leading experts in our field. We will also play a role in creating a clearer and more compelling story around the contribution that our industry makes to global society. The bunker industry has a great story to tell and we need to do this more effectively.
IBIA can begin to achieve much of this through the better use and application of technology. It’s a great opportunity for us as the tools available today allow us to manage information and pursue our strategic initiatives with greater dexterity and focus than has ever been possible before. We’ll be digitally enhanced rather than disrupted!
Contact one of the World Bunkering team.