DryBMS: Overview of the Highest Safety Standard for the Dry Bulk Sector

Introduced by INTERCARGO and RightShip in 2021, the Dry Bulk Management Standard (DryBMS) represents the latest step forward in ensuring safety and reducing risk within the dry bulk sector.

The Dry Bulk Management Standard (DryBMS) represents the latest step forward in ensuring safety and reducing risk within the dry bulk sector. Introduced by INTERCARGO and RightShip in 2021, this innovative framework is a response to the pressing need for more robust safety protocols and a reduction in maritime incidents, considering that over 2,000 bulk carrier incidents were reported in the past decade, resulting in more than 200 seafarer fatalities.

Structure of DryBMS

DryBMS covers an extensive range of 30 subject areas, divided into four categories: Performance, People, Plant, and Process. This structure ensures a thorough and holistic approach to ship management, addressing key aspects that sometimes may be overlooked.

Underpinning this approach are four levels of expectations: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Excellence. Each level reflects a company's degree of compliance and sophistication within its management system. This tiered system serves to guide companies along a clear path of progress and continual improvement.

Within the 30 subject areas, 17 have been identified as priority areas, highlighting their significance within the industry. From HSSE objectives and KPIs to environmental management and cyber security, these areas represent a crucial focus for dry bulk operators.

DryBMS scoring methodology and the role of self-assessment

At the heart of DryBMS is the concept of self-assessment. This proactive methodology encourages companies to evaluate their own performance, identify areas for improvement, and monitor their progress over time. Coupled with a robust scoring methodology, this framework offers an insightful and reflective approach to ship management.

In this process, the staff involved in self-assessment play a crucial role. They are tasked with identifying and collecting relevant evidence related to each target and expectation. These sources of evidence can include the latest self-assessment report, internal and external audits, and feedback from stakeholders.

Essentially, self-assessment works optimally when it is deeply integrated in a company's activities and not perceived as an isolated task performed by a few people on behalf of all the rest. It's recommended that the self-assessment process be led and overseen by a senior figure within the organization. 

Interpreting the evidence
Once the potential evidence under each expectation and target is identified, operators can begin to interpret what this evidence implies. This involves identifying the company's strengths and weaknesses. To aid this process, the following can be used:

  • The latest self-assessment report
  • External and internal audits
  • Feedback from customers and stakeholders
  • Performance against the company's own targets
  • Findings from inspections
  • Performance trends
  • Benchmarking information

Scoring methodology
Based on the self-assessment within each subject area, a score is assigned to each level according to the following criteria:

  • The level is not met - 0%
  • The level has substantial opportunities for improvement - 25%
  • The level is partially met - 50%
  • The level is substantially met - 75%
  • The level is fully met - 100%

The percentages for each stage are then totaled and divided by 100, resulting in a score out of four. The scoring system incorporates specific rules for levels above basic and intermediate. If the score for the basic level isn't 100%, the scores for intermediate, advanced, and excellence levels are reduced. Likewise, unless the scores for both basic and intermediate levels are 100%, the scores for advanced and excellence levels will be discounted. The table below shows an example of discounting:

Collaborative approach and the importance of human element

DryBMS stands apart due to its emphasis on collaboration, not only among companies but also between crews and shore. In an interview regarding DryBMS, Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General, stated: “There are several challenges that the dry bulk sector faces, and we can’t generate solutions without the buy-in of the majority of companies that are impacted by these challenges. Through collaboration, and wide industry feedback, we allow more voices to be heard, which in turn has generated considerable support for the DryBMS.” He further underscores the significance of a cooperative approach in building trust and enhancing safety. "To do this, we must increase communications technology that connects ships to the shore. Communication is everything. We need to see the shore telling the ship’s crew it’s important to be safe." 

The importance of the human element cannot be understated in the maritime industry. While other regimes like TMSA for tanker operators have brought forth progress, they have often been criticized for increasing paperwork for crews. As per Safety4Sea article, “...still many people complain about TMSA, paperwork and tick tock exercises and they are right at some point…” DryBMS recalled lessons learned from ISM and TMSA implementation, acknowledges and addresses the human aspect, reducing the bureaucratic load and focusing on practical measures with highest impact.

Promoting a culture of continuous improvement
Integral to DryBMS is the promotion of a culture of continual improvement, underscored by its self-assessment feature. Companies are encouraged to evaluate their performance, identify areas of improvement, and track their progress over time. This is an essential component for attaining excellence and enhancing safety. DryBMS encourages companies to not just meet the basic requirements but strive for excellence, fostering a commitment to safety, and driving continuous improvement in ship management. As per INTERCARGO's annual review, “DryBMS is intended to provide owners and operators with a robust set of best practices and standards designed to improve operational performance by utilizing a continuous improvement model.”

In conclusion, the Dry Bulk Management Standard (DryBMS) is a great initiative in the maritime industry that reinforces the importance of collaboration, continuous learning, and a focus on the human element in ensuring safety and reducing risks. The commitment to reducing paperwork and enhancing safety, collaboration, and empowering the human element resonates strongly with us at Kaiko Systems. With Kaiko Systems, inspections and maintenance are digitized and verified, enabling shore teams to have data-driven insights, streamline findings, and manage off-hire risks proactively. And crews can conduct inspections paperless, automate their reporting and save up to 50% of time on inspections and maintenance. 

While companies recognize the benefits of digitized inspections, there are still concerns over lengthy implementation, high upfront costs, and potential disruption to existing workflows. Kaiko Systems is hosting a live webinar to clarify these misconceptions and provide insights into the topic of digitized inspections. Join the webinar and discover how organizations such as Columbia Shipmanagement, HS Bereederungs, and C Transport Maritime have benefited from digitized inspections from day 1.

Click HERE to sign up for the webinar.

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