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DNV Decarbonisation Insights: Singapore speeds up maritime decarbonisation




1 MBS at night source Nikos Spaeth scaled

A review of APM and SMW

If there is one country in the world – and a small one at that – which has grasped the challenge of accelerating the decarbonisation of the maritime industry, it is Singapore. And so it should, as it is consistently rated as the world’s leading bunkering hub, as well as the second busiest port in terms of container throughput.

But there is more to that. The Leading Maritime Cities of the World report, compiled in cooperation between DNV and Menon Economics, provides insights into which global hubs offer the best infrastructure, technology, finance, and world-class talent, to help the maritime community to connect and prosper.1

The report benchmarks each maritime city based on five key pillars – Shipping, Maritime Finance and Law, Maritime Technology, Ports and Logistics, and Attractiveness and Competitiveness. The 2022 analysis uses some new and more comprehensive objective and subjective indicators, as well as data sources, to facilitate a more refined benchmarking of the relative performance of each city. 

Through all this, Singapore retains the number one spot overall, ahead of Rotterdam, London, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

2 LMC 2022 ranking source DNV
Ranking of the Leading Maritime Cities of the World 2022 report (source: DNV)

If it is not enough to come out on top in such an authoritative and independent global assessment, maybe the high level of international, regional, and local attendance at two recent maritime industry events in the island city-state confirms how significant Singapore’s role is for port operators, ship-owners, charterers and everyone else associated with shipping. 

In-person vibes at APM and SMW

The three-day Asia Pacific Maritime exhibition and conference at Marina Bay Sands in March recorded more than 7,000 trade attendees, a total of 286 exhibitors from 27 countries and regions, while also bringing together country pavilions from Australia, Germany, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, The Netherlands, and United Kingdom.2

As the largest maritime in-person event after two years of pandemic constraints, 60 thought leaders and subject matter experts joined panel discussions for a long-awaited face-to-face experience. 

“Decarbonisation: Are we heading in the right direction?” was the title of a lively session at the event. “Yes, but we have to move faster,” insisted panellist Dr Shahrin Osman, the Regional Head of Maritime Advisory at DNV, who is also the Director of the classification society’s Maritime Decarbonisation & Autonomy Centre of Excellence. He pointed out that the whole shipping ecosystem must get “future fuel ready” and stakeholders must move together in a transparent fashion. 

Dr Sanjay Kuttan, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD), reinforced the importance of collaboration. He also stressed that “there’s no silver bullet and not one single solution.”3

When mentioning a multi-fuel future scenario, he reminded the audience that GCMD and DNV have already embarked on a safety study for the use of ammonia as a bunkering fuel in Singapore.4

3 Sanjay Kuttan of GCMD speaking at APM source APM

Sanjay Kuttan, CTO of the GCMD, speaking at Asia Pacific Maritime in March 2022 (source: APM)

And this was just the start of an industry debate on the importance of decarbonisation. 

The word seemed to be on everyone’s lips at the next major series of shipping events that formed Singapore Maritime Week (SMW), organized by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) from 4 to 8 April.  

Words were quickly backed by concrete actions.

On the first day of SMW, Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister-in-Charge of Trade Relations, Mr S. Iswaran, announced that Singapore – together with 22 signatory states – is joining the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors, an initiative to support the establishment of both green shipping corridors and zero-emission maritime routes between ports.5 

“Looking ahead, decarbonisation is a major challenge for the maritime industry. We must act – today and together. As a global maritime hub, Singapore seeks to contribute to this critical effort in a flexible and inclusive way,” Minister Iswaran said.

The Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint

Reinforcing Singapore’s leadership role in maritime decarbonisation was Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, Mr Heng Swee Keat. When delivering the SMW keynote address, he drew attention to the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint launched by the Government only a month earlier. Under this initiative, the Government will invest at least 300 million S$ over the next ten years in reducing emissions for the maritime industry.

4 Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint source MPA
Key elements of the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint (source: MPA)

“The Blueprint was developed after in-depth consultations with the industry and recognises the need to green every segment of the supply chain – from our vessels to our port and marine bunkering infrastructure,” he explained.6

“It has ambitious goals, which include making our ports net zero and reducing harbour craft emissions significantly by 2050,” Minister Heng said. 

He made it clear that Singapore is also seeking to contribute towards the international maritime green transition.

GCMD adds more partners

Minister Heng referred to the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD), which brings together industry partners, researchers, and MPA to drive R&D and to pilot novel decarbonisation solutions. Its funding was made possible through an initial S$120 million contribution from the government and six like-minded industry partners.

GCMD played a prominent role at SMW, announcing that it had brought on board four additional partners – bp, Boston Consulting Group, Chevron, and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) – adding to its six founding partners, namely BHP, BW, DNV Foundation, Eastern Pacific Shipping, Ocean Network Express and Sembcorp Marine. Earlier this year, Hapag-Lloyd had already joined the Centre as strategic partner, while partnership agreements were also signed with the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), the Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, as well as the Global Maritime Forum (GMF).7

5 SMW Marine Money panel source Marine Money
Marine Money panellists, including Bo Cerup-Simonsen, Professor Lynn Loo, and Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria (source: Marine Money)

A prominent speaker participating in person at SMW was Bo Cerup-Simonsen, the CEO of the Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, who stressed the need for more “visible leadership” in the global maritime industry to show and to reinforce the necessity to get to Net Zero.  

Referring to the partnership agreement signed with GCMD, he said: “We are facing a systemic and industry-wide transformation, and by collaborating, we are significantly increasing our chances for accelerating the transition. We need all hands-on deck, and this partnership is great news for the mission we are on – we are eager to collaborate on selected projects.” 

When asked about the challenges the maritime industry faces, Professor Lynn Loo, CEO of GCMD, said: “I see them as opportunities”. She also underlined the importance of safety when introducing alternative fuels like ammonia. “That’s why we’re committed to focus on conducting pilots.” 

Further decarbonisation initiatives

Minister Heng, in his keynote address, also noted the recent formation of the Coastal Sustainability Alliance (CSA), a partnership initiated by Kuok (Singapore) Limited Maritime Group to support the electrification of Singapore’s harbour crafts by jointly investing in a network of charging points for electric boats.8

Other international programmes he mentioned include:

  • The Future Fuel Port Network formed by Singapore, Japan, and the Port of Rotterdam Authority to develop a roadmap for the adoption of cleaner marine fuels.
  • The Castor Initiative, of which Singapore is a member. It acts as a multinational coalition across the entire maritime ecosystem, aiming to design, build, and commission the world’s first ammonia-fuelled tanker by 2025.

Representing container shipping, Jeremy Nixon, CEO at Ocean Network Express (ONE), urged the global industry to move faster to make green fuels available sooner and to produce more ships – or adapt existing vessels – able to safely utilise fuels like green ammonia and hydrogen. 

During the week, his company, ONE, announced the successful completion of its third trial of marine biofuel onboard the Singapore-flagged vessel NYK Fuji, noting that the use of green fuel such as biofuel will help to reduce carbon footprint to achieve its environmental sustainability target of net zero emission by 2050.

DNV Group President and CEO joins IAP

Illustrating the importance of public-private partnerships in the maritime world, the newly introduced Maritime International Advisory Panel (IAP), chaired by Minister Iswaran, held its inaugural meeting during SMW.9

Among those who flew in especially for the event was Mr Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO of DNV, one of the 12 maritime industry leaders appointed to the IAP. 

The Maritime IAP highlighted three key trends that would shape the future of a resilient and sustainable supply chain:

  • Reconfiguration of supply chains through diversification, regionalisation, and disintermediation.
  • Technological advancements, such as digitalisation and automation.

Growing importance of sustainability as countries, corporations and consumers demand a decisive response to climate change.10

6 Quah Ley Hoon speaking at SMW
Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA, on stage during SMW (source: MPA)

MPA goes green

Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA, who prominently featured in the week-long series of events, heavily stressed the need for funding to drive the decarbonisation process in Singapore and beyond. 

She drew attention to MPA’s work on a maritime green finance strategy in pursuit of the twin goals of developing Singapore as an International Maritime Centre (IMC) and as a leading Centre for Green Finance in Asia. It is planned to raise awareness of green finance programmes through industry sharing sessions and to explore the development of a standard taxonomy.11

In addition, MPA will continue to identify opportunities to widen and deepen the range of financing solutions in Singapore while creating platforms to match projects to appropriate financing. 

Furthermore, MPA signed three Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) with green shipping consortiums on the ammonia value-chain, with the aim of establishing ammonia bunkering in Singapore on and/or off-shore.

DNV and BHP extend partnership

Among the many agreements signed during SMW, a particularly significant one was the renewed MoU between DNV and BHP to further improve safety and to accelerate the decarbonisation of maritime transport. This partnership sees the two organizations collaborating closely to explore technical projects in the areas of digitalization, operational efficiency, and alternative fuels.12

One of the immediate projects under this framework includes the recently announced implementation of DNV’s independent cloud platform Veracity to enable BHP’s goal of achieving net zero Scope 3 maritime emissions by 2050.

Signing the MoU at the BHP office in Singapore was Rashpal Singh Bhatti, Vice President, Maritime and Supply Chain Excellence at BHP, and Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO of DNV.

7 BHP DNV MoU Signing source BHP
Remi Eriksen, DNV, and Rashpal Singh Bhatti, BHP, signing a renewed MoU to improve maritime safety and accelerate decarbonisation (source: BHP)

To round up the many developments in Singapore’s recent maritime decarbonization journey, we give the last word to DNV Maritime Regional Manager Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria, who actively participated as a panellist at a number of SMW conference sessions.

“We have a robust ecosystem in Asia, especially in Singapore where there is a focus on collaboration and fostering public and private partnerships to move the needle on decarbonisation,” she said. “We must work together and start now! Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good – we have good solutions today that can take us along the journey.”


[1] DNV: The Leading Maritime Cities of the World 2022
[2] Asia Pacific Maritime 2022 Closes On A High Note
[3] Ocean Outlook, ABC Carbon Express
[4] DNV selected to lead pioneering ammonia bunkering safety study in Singapore
[5] Singapore to join Clydebank Declaration on green shipping corridors
[6] SMW 2022: Minister highlights ‘decisive green transition’ in keynote address
[7] GCMD signs on 4 new partners during Singapore Maritime Week
[8] Kuok (Singapore) Limited Maritime Group launches Coastal Sustainability Alliance
[9] SMW 2022: Minister chairs Maritime International Advisory Panel meetings
[10] MPA: Cross-sector Collaborations Critical to Strengthen Connectivity, Resilience and Sustainability of Global Maritime Industry and Supply Chains
[11] MPA: Global Maritime Industry Players Gathered at Maritime Services Leaders Forum to Discuss the Impact of Digitalisation and Decarbonisation on Maritime Services Sectors
[12] DNV and BHP signed renewed MoU in Singapore

Published: 6 May, 2022

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Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

Firm signed a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard “Pacific Sentinel”.





Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Thursday (22 February) said it signed a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Suitable for both newbuilds and retrofit projects, the system delivers energy efficiency and cost savings for a broad range of vessels, regardless of their size and age.

Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

José Miguel Bermudez, CEO and co-founder at bound4blue, said: “Signing an agreement with an industry player of the scale and reputation of EPS not only highlights the growing recognition of wind-assisted propulsion as a vital solution for maximising both environmental and commercial benefits, but also underscores the confidence industry leaders have in our proven technology.”

“It’s exciting to secure our first contract in Singapore, particularly with EPS, a company known for both its business success and its environmental commitment.”

“We see the company as a role model for shipping in that respect. As such this is a milestone development, one that we hope will pave the way for future installations across EPS’ fleet, further solidifying our presence in the region.”

Cyril Ducau, Chief Executive Officer at EPS, said: “EPS is committed to exploring and implementing innovative solutions that improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions across our fleet.” 

“Over the past six years, our investments in projects including dual fuel vessels, carbon capture, biofuels, voyage optimisation technology and more have allowed us to reduce our emissions intensity by 30% and achieve an Annual Efficiency Ratio (AER) of 3.6 CO2g/dwt-mile in 2023, outperforming our emission intensity targets ahead of schedule. The addition of the bound4blue groundbreaking wind assisted propulsion will enhance our efforts on this path to decarbonise.”

“With this project, we are confident that the emission reductions gained through eSAILs® on Pacific Sentinel will help us better evaluate the GHG reduction potential of wind assisted propulsion on our fleet in the long run.”

Pacific Sentinel will achieve a ‘wind assisted’ notation from class society ABS once the eSAILs® are installed. 


Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 23 February, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Galveston LNG Bunker Port joins SEA-LNG coalition

SEA-LNG said move will further enhance its LNG supply infrastructure expertise and global reach, while giving GLBP access to the latest LNG pathway research and networking opportunities.





Galveston LNG Bunker Port joins SEA-LNG coalition

Galveston LNG Bunker Port (GLBP), a joint-venture between Seapath Group, one of the maritime subsidiaries of the Libra Group, and Pilot LNG, LLC (Pilot), a Houston-based clean energy solutions company, has joined SEA-LNG, according to the latter on Wednesday (21 February). 

SEA-LNG said the move will further enhance its LNG supply infrastructure expertise and global reach, while giving GLBP access to the latest LNG pathway research and networking opportunities.

GLBP was announced in September 2023 and will develop, construct and operate the US Gulf Coast’s first dedicated facility supporting the fuelling of LNG-powered vessels, expected to be operational late-2026.

The shore-based LNG liquefaction facility will be located on Shoal Point in Texas City, part of the greater Houston-Galveston port complex, one of the busiest ports in the USA. This is a strategic location for cruise ship LNG bunkering in US waters, as well as for international ship-to-ship bunkering and cool-down services. GLBP will offer cost-effective turn-key LNG supply solutions to meet growing demand for the cleaner fuel in the USA and Gulf of Mexico.

Jonathan Cook, Pilot CEO, said: “With an initial investment of approximately $180 million, our LNG bunkering facility will supply a vital global and U.S. trade corridor with cleaner marine fuel. We recognise that SEA-LNG is a leading partner and a key piece of the LNG bunkering sector, and will give us access to insights and expertise across the entire LNG supply chain.

“LNG supports environmental goals and human health by offering ship operators immediate reductions in CO2 emissions and virtually eliminating harmful local emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.”

President of Seapath, Joshua Lubarsky, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting the decarbonization of the maritime industry through strategic, and much needed, investments into the supply of alternative fuels.  We are also happy to be a part of SEA-LNG which has done a wonderful job in advocating for advancements in technology in this vital sector.”

Chairman of SEA-LNG Peter Keller, said: “We’re proud to welcome another leading LNG supplier to the coalition and are looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship. With every investment in supply infrastructure in the US and worldwide, the LNG pathway’s head start increases. Global availability, alongside bio-LNG and e-LNG development, makes LNG the practical and realistic route to maritime decarbonisation.

“All alternative fuels exist on a pathway from grey, fossil-based fuels to green, bio or renewable fuels. Green fuels represent a scarce resource and many have scalability issues, so we must start our net-zero journey today with grey fuels. LNG is the only grey fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, well-to-wake, so you need less green fuel than alternatives to improve emissions performance.”


Photo credit: SEA-LNG
Published: 23 February, 2024

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VARO and Orim Energy to supply bio bunker fuels in ARA region

VARO will source, produce and blend various waste and advanced bio feedstocks to high quality bunker fuel specs; Orim will source fuel and gas oils for blending and deliver final biofuel blends to vessels.





VARO and Orim Energy to supply bio bunker fuels in ARA region

VARO Energy (VARO) on Wednesday (21 February) said it is partnering with Orim Energy (Orim) to provide shipping customers in the Port of Rotterdam – and wider Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region - with biofuels. 

The agreement supports the decarbonisation of maritime transportation and inland shipping in Northern Europe. It also contributes to the wider targets set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from shipping by at least 20% by 2030 and at least 70% by 2050, compared with 2008 levels.

Current demand for Fuel Oil in ARA , Europe’s largest bunkering hub, is approximately 14 million tonnes per year. Supported by new EU regulations, the market for B30, a blend of 70% Fuel Oil and 30% biofuels, is expected to grow rapidly to the end of the decade. As a result of this joint initiative, VARO and Orim will be well positioned to meet this increased demand and support the decarbonisation plans of their shipping customers.

VARO’s biofuels trading capabilities and growing biofuel manufacturing asset base will complement Orim’s extensive distribution, storage and bunkering capabilities in ARA. Under the agreement, VARO will source, produce and blend various waste and advanced bio feedstocks to high quality bunker specifications. Orim will source the fuel and gas oils for blending and deliver the final biofuel blends to customers’ vessels.

VARO has a long track record of providing biofuels for maritime logistics. Since 2018, the company has supplied the Port of Rotterdam with HVO100 (100% Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil “HVO”) for use with the Port’s service fleet. In 2023 VARO signed an agreement with Höegh Autoliners to supply the company with 100% advanced biofuels for its shipping fleet.

The partnership is aligned with VARO’s strategy to become the partner of choice for customers in the energy transition by providing them with the low-carbon energy solutions they need to decarbonise.

Dev Sanyal, CEO of VARO, said: “Meeting rising demand for blended biofuels is critical to achieving the EU and IMO’s decarbonisation targets for shipping. Our experience in biofuels, combined with Orim’s logistics and bunkering operations, will help meet this demand at Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port facility. I am delighted to be entering into a strategic partnership with Orim and to further build on VARO’s long-established presence in Rotterdam. This is another step in our journey to enable the decarbonisation of the maritime sector.

Edwin Coppens, Managing Director of Orim, said: “Upcoming EU and IMO regulations drive the need to scale up with biofuels and ensure quality assurance going forward. Partnering with VARO allows us to do just that, using each other’s strengths to optimize our blending expertise and network. We will benefit from VARO’s extensive experience with biofuels, which includes joint testing with leading ship engine suppliers. Together, we can increase our sourcing and supply capabilities, extending our reach and further strengthening our position in the ARA region.”


Photo credit: VARO Energy
Published: 23 February, 2024

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