Middelburg: Looking to shave some money off your bunker bills? You best be quick if you want to maximize your savings from a new Dutch outfit. Oiloffer.com is offering no subscription costs during its Beta testing period. The site founded by Colin de Vries anonymously matches buyers with the best deals on bunker oil with sellers, according to its mission statement.
Having sold his previous company de Vries was casting around for a new venture, when he learnt about the way bunkers are sold, having been introduced to a bunker broker.
“I was actually very surprised,” he relates, “to learn that the whole procurement process around bunkering roughly matches the same procedure most people use to buy a new pair of trousers.”
At first de Vries thought this was because this particular broker was a one-man show, but after he visited a couple of large bunkering companies, he learned this was not the case. So during a holiday in Tromso in Norway, he sat down and wrote the whole functional design for the OilOffer.com website.
“Obviously I have no background in bunkering, so I decided to do an open beta,” he explains. This means that the first customers have a heavy say in the functionality of the website. He has also added to the team quite considerably.
Oiloffer.com, he says, saves time and money by automating the whole procurement process.
Clients simply specify the port and products they need, and the site will collect all prices from all companies who are able to service the client in that port. Aside from price, clients can also review payment terms and other conditions that might influence their decision.
“We expect to see small to medium size companies, who tend to be more agile, to adopt to the service in the early days, and the larger organisations later on,” de Vries says.
De Vries’s own background includes stints at Microsoft and eBay. He’s also had multiple companies of which some were successful and some not. The last one was called Blue Mail Central, which is a system that sends letters all over to world in a digital form but prints them locally
“I strive to take the learnings from my previous endeavours to Oiloffer and I hope the customers will benefit from these experiences,” he says. [07/10/14]