DBMS Explained: The why, what and how of our new standards for dry bulk shipping

Today we are pleased to be launching the Dry Bulk Management Standard, to increase standards for the dry bulk shipping segment. This is an important step in our industry’s journey to improve health, safety, security and pollution prevention across dry bulk shipping. You have read our launch announcement – but this blog post takes the opportunity to explain more of the why, what and how of DBMS – and tell you about our plans for the near future of this standard.

The Why

Although there are regulatory standards for most shipping industry sectors, and the safety, sustainability and seafarer welfare has improved in recent years, there is a need for support in the dry bulk towards operational practises above and beyond compliance.

With this in mind, we have collaborated with industry experts and leaders to launch the Dry Bulk Management Standards – DBMS. The voluntary programme is designed for ship managers to measure their Safety Management System (SMS) against these agreed industry standards, with the aim to of improving fleet performance, safety standards and ensuring pollution prevention.

While there is currently progress in the industry, both on board and ashore, the DBMS will allow managers to benchmark their current performance and provide a clear path to improve, no matter where we are in the shipping cycle.

The What

Dry bulk, like all shipping, has its own particular risks and DBMS has been created with that in mind by the industry, for the industry. It provides guidance to help you be safe, secure and environmentally aware across four areas of management practise: performance, people, plant and process. Each area can be completed to one of four levels: basic, intermediate, advanced, excellent.

These expectations and targets, against which companies can assess their own safety management systems, help to create achievable plans for improvement. This will encourage companies to regularly review their self-assessment results against DBMS guidelines without involving the burdens of excessive inspections.

Importantly, DBMS will build upon industry standards and provide a systematic and east to implement plan to encourage ship operators to move from minimum compliance to operational excellence.

The How

The DBMS website has been set up to allow ship managers to download the guidelines and standards, and to provide feedback to help create the first version of the standards. We believe DBMS will generally increase standards across the sector as managers will be able to see how they measure their SMS against their peers and receive clear steps to improve.

Collaboration at the heart of the DBMS journey

We’re serious about the power of collaboration in helping to improve standards within dry bulk. That’s why these standards are designed to be updated with your feedback – which will be key across this initial period.

Just as DBMS was formulated in collaboration with industry experts and owners, operators and managers, the next step of our journey is about constant, iterative updates using reasoned feedback.

We believe that this will make DBMS a truly fit-for-purpose set of guidelines that the whole of dry bulk shipping will be excited to embrace.

To find out more about DBMS, explore this website and read our FAQs here. To contact the team, please email: enquiries@drybulkmanagementstandard.org