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APM 2022: Industry experts agree with MPA’s vision of a multi-fuel future for Maritime Singapore

24 Mar 2022

Industry experts from various sectors of the marine fuels value chain on Friday (18 March) said they agreed with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)’s direction of a multi-fuel future for Maritime Singapore.

Earlier in March, MPA introduced the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint: Working Towards 2050 document.

In short, the blueprint aims to reduce absolute emissions from the domestic harbour craft fleet by 15% from 2021 levels through the adoption of lower-carbon energy solutions such as blended biofuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG), diesel-electric hybrid propulsion, and full-electric propulsion by 2030.

The development affects all 1,600 licensed diesel-powered harbourcraft operating at Singapore, including local bunker tankers delivering marine fuels to international ships.

Bunker industry veteran Simon Neo was leading the ‘Fuel Fight: Examining why alternative fuels such as LNG and hydrogen are proofing to be solid alternatives to traditional fuel’ session at Asia Pacific Maritime (APM) 2022 when he said fossil-based marine fuels will still continue to be a mainstay for the bunkering sector on a mid-term basis.

“Though the market is now looking at using LNG, hydrogen, ammonia, methanol, biofuel and other different types of alternative fuels for ships it is still very difficult to decarbonise and move away from fossil fuels,” stated Neo, Executive Director of bunker consultancy firm SDE International.

Neo, who was also moderator of the session, noted bunker tanker operators having to consider factors related to safety, prices, engine performance and training, amongst others, before choosing between different types of alternative fuels which were all in “friendly competition” with each other.

He proceeded to ask the panellists on what they thought about MPA’s decarbonisation blueprint.

Douglas Raitt, Regional Advisory Services Manager at Lloyd’s Register, said Singapore will be able to continue serving the entire shipping base (i.e. domestic and foreign vessels) as a major bunkering hub with MPA’s multipronged fuel approach.

“In the context of zero carbon bunker fuels, one can envision the port having harbourcraft being propelled by hydrogen-based battery power solutions while deep sea shipping may be served by ammonia as fuel transitioning away from LNG in the longer term,” he shares.

“As we start to grapple with potential methane slip regulations from LNG fuelled engines, the use of ammonia can be a practical way forward. From what I read, the MPA decarbonisation blueprint has it spot on and a multi-fuel future is indeed the best way to go forward.”

Sachin Gupta, Director for Chemical Products at Wilhelmsen Ships Service, was appreciative of the direction provided by Singapore government thought the MPA blueprint.

“Kudos to Singapore, as the report sets the pace and structure for Maritime Singapore’s decarbonisation. Infrastructure is key to ports and shipowners now know what types of bunker fuels will be available in the future at the republic,” he says.

“It’s a great step from Singapore to take that initiative to put it in paper.”

Jan-Paul de Wilde, Head of Department, Decarbonization, Energy Transition & Innovation at RINA, while commenting on Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint, said he was impressed with Singapore’s own approach towards domestic decarbonisation as this is outside the purview of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which is only responsible for overseeing regulations for international shipping.

“We have to commend the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore for taking such a holistic approach toward decarbonisation, on one hand by actively supporting IMO’s policies on an international level while also setting emission reduction targets for the local harbour craft to support IMO’s direction for the maritime sector,” he notes.

“On our part, we are actively working toward the reduction of emissions in Singapore waters together with local companies like SeaTech Solutions and other partners in the ‘Goal Zero’ consortium for the electrification of local harbour craft.”

Chris Chatterton, Chief Operating Officer at Methanol Institute Singapore, stated his organisation will be supportive of Singapore’s future multifuel environment.

“Without a doubt, the methanol spectrum has a role to play in Maritime Singapore’s decarbonisation future. In fact, supporting other fuels by co-blending has been a traditional role of methanol in markets for many years,” he explains.

“We applaud MPA for adopting the decarbonisation blueprint to get this moving, rather than just conducting ourselves as business as usual.”

Alex Tang, Regional Manager Asia at International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) Asia, said IBIA is supportive of MPA’s direction.

“This is definitely a good one and it is important for us to let the rest of the world know what we will be doing for maritime decarbonisation,” he states.

“IBIA will be available to provide training to personnel and this is an area which we are able to constructively support in securing Singapore’s decarbonisation journey.”

Related: Singapore bunker tanker operators to rethink operations on MPA 2030 environmental deadline, says GCMD expert
Related: Priorities of maritime Singapore have ‘remained on-track’ despite COVID-19, says MPA
Related: Singapore making ‘significant efforts’ to build sustainable maritime hub, says Minister
Related: MPA blueprint prepares marine fuels sector for multi-fuel bunkering transition
Related: MPA: Singapore bunker tanker fleet expected to run on net zero fuels by 2050
Related: Singapore: MPA maritime decarbonisation blueprint sets target for bunkering sector


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 24 March, 2022

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