DryBMS: 2021 brings new challenges to Dry Bulk Sector

The new Dry Bulk Management Standard (DryBMS) was introduced on 2 April 2020, when the first draft version was published under the title DBMS and became available on the website of the Standard (https://drybms.org). Since then, RightShip has been collecting Industry feedback and has occasionally published revised parts of the initially drafted Standard on the basis of the comments received.

Recently, a final draft version of DryBMS was published and endorsed by both RightShip and INTERCARGO, via a joint press release by the two organizations.

The final version of DryBMS is expected to be launched within 2021 and governed by a new NGO which will be established for this purpose. Although application of DryBMS to Companies managing Bulk Carrier vessels is claimed to be voluntary, the relevant experience from Tanker Industry and TMSA indicates that DryBMS will inaugurate a new era in the Dry Bulk Sector, which must adapt its operations to the forthcoming unprecedented demands.

The most important aspects of DryBMS, consolidating all official information being available so far, are presented below:

The concept of Self-Assessment

According to the official website, “DryBMS is a set of resources for ship managers to use to self-assess and improve (or maintain) their performance”. The concept of Self-Assessment is not something new in Maritime Industry. OCIMF’s Tanker Management Self-Assessment (TMSA) was released in 2004 with application to the Wet Sector. As with TMSA, on the basis of DryBMS, the managers of Bulk Carriers shall assess the effectiveness of their Safety Management Systems (SMS) against the established standards. This process will assist the ship managers to score their performance against the standards applying to the entire Industry, identify areas of weakness, set targets for improvement and take actions to achieve their objectives.

The structure of DryBMS

The DryBMS consists of a self-assessment questionnaire which covers 30 subject areas within 4 wide sections / areas:

  • Performance (6 subject areas)
  • People (7 subject areas)
  • Plant (5 subject areas)
  • Process (12 subject areas)

The 4 levels of expected compliance and the scoring system

Each DryBMS subject area integrates 4 levels of compliance: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Excellence. Justification of compliance with the requirements of each level is performed gradually on the basis of a system of percentages per level (0% – 25% – 50% – 75% – 100%). However, there are two essential prerequisites which shall apply:

  • Unless the score for the basic level is 100%, scores for the intermediate, advanced and excellence levels will be scored at 5% of the self-assessed score
  • Unless the scores for both the basic and intermediate levels are 100%, scores for the advanced and excellence levels will be scored at 5% of the self-assessed score.

Meeting the DryBMS standards

DryBMS will cover an apparent need for the introduction of a widely applicable Standard to promote the culture of continuous improvement and strengthen the shipping Companies’ safety culture.

Compliance with the elevated standards set by DryBMS is not only a top, but also a necessary challenge that Companies managing Bulk Carriers will have to deal with. Consequently, the process of adapting to this new reality demands collaborative efforts by all involved and affected parties. While the Covid-19 global crisis unfolds and the Maritime Industry takes measures to deal with its consequences, it is of paramount importance to take advantage of the opportunity of DryBMS induction and create a roadmap towards operational efficiency and HSQE excellence.

Alpha Marine Consulting – Leading experts on DryBMS compliance.

AMC has a long-standing experience in supporting shipping Companies to achieve compliance with elevated Industry requirements and HSQE standards. Having conducted more than 500 SMS Gap Analyses against TMSA standards throughout the last 16 years and assisted numerous Companies managing Tankers to close their gaps and get prepared for the office audits and vetting inspections, AMC can effectually undertake the following tasks:

  • Gap Analysis of existing Management Systems against DryBMS and upgrading of procedures in accordance with any identified gaps.
  • Detailed audit in the Company’s premises, by using the DryBMS questionnaire. The audit reviews all relevant Company’s departments’ practices, the actual level of the SMS implementation, the level of employees’ awareness, etc. During the audit, checking of records required to be presented during a DryBMS Office audit and familiarization of the Company’s personnel with the DryBMS requirements will be also conducted.
  • Development of tailor-made Management Systems, adapted to the individual needs and operational scheme of each Company / fleet and in line with DryBMS requirements.
  • Review, on a continuous basis, of existing Management Systems. As areas in need of revisions are identified, procedures are updated to new regulatory or Industry standards.
  • Training and Computer-Based Training (CBT) programs, tailored to each Company’s needs, goals and operational scheme and aligned with the DryBMS requirements.
  • Independent audits and assessments (Internal, Navigational, VDR, Cargo, Mooring, Environmental, Engineering, Energy, etc.), in line with DryBMS requirements.
  • Preparation for Office audits and vessels’ vetting inspections by RightShip and other third parties.
  • Support during vetting inspections and audits from RightShip and other third parties.
  • Monitoring and benchmarking of Company’s KPIs.