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DNV ‘Live from Singapore’ webinar discusses operational efficiency and biofuel bunkers

GCMD study needs to show how maritime industry can cope with expected “lower energy density” of biofuel and how it impacts accessibility of biofuels for bunkering worldwide, says Sanjay Kuttan.




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“Do what we can now, with what we have!” This was the clear message on maritime decarbonization in a recent ‘Live from Singapore’ webinar organized by classification society DNV.

The panel explored strategies and practical solutions to decarbonize existing fleets, and how the industry can work together to solve this common challenge.

While fleet owners and operators are facing immense pressure, webinar panellists admitted that things will take time, and time is not on the side of shipping – and all other industries – to make the monumental changes to reach Net Zero goals, or at least halve emissions from international shipping by 50 percent until 2050.

Optimizing energy efficiency of existing fleets

Despite the huge challenges, panellists agreed there is a lot we can do right now that can make a big difference.

Ship operators can cut emissions immediately by introducing smart energy efficiency measures and it is possible to bunker low-carbon biofuels without having to make any changes to fuel tanks or engines. 

Anglo American’s Global Head of Shipping Peter Lye told the audience that his company was already working on a number of ways to reduce carbon intensity in its ocean freight operations. For example, it had successfully trialled (in mid-2021) a biodiesel blend, produced in Singapore from waste cooking oil, to power one of their charter vessels during a voyage to South Africa. 

Fellow panellist François-Xavier Accard, Managing Director of CMA CGM International Shipping, didn’t disagree, but made it clear that there was “not one solution”. Alternative fuels must be an important part of the mix, but we must not lose sight of the need for greater operational efficiency, including managing ship routing. He also called for more to be done to harmonize regulations for all in the maritime industry. 

DNV’s representative on the panel – Girish Sreeraman, Area Business Development Manager for Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent –could not go past the word “collaboration” to sum up the importance of addressing decarbonization for the maritime sector. 

On alternative fuels, he made it clear that much more investment was needed, while optimization of vessels’ performance was a move in the right direction by IMO. With its Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII), ship operators needed more time to meet the reporting requirements.

More transparency needed

Sanjay Kuttan, Chief Technology Officer at the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonization (GCMD), explained that it was vital to share data and lessons learned from the CII implementation. Without transparency, the wider industry was not going to be able to collectively apply what’s needed or adapt technology to make a meaningful difference.

Mr Accard from CMA CGM did caution to say that some of the data collected is “sensitive” and not all of it can be freely shared. Admittedly, it is important to collect all relevant data from the vessels, he said, regarding speed, fuel use, energy efficiency measures taken. But he insisted that the regulations must be clear and must be applied to all.  

Mr Lye of Anglo American pointed out that transparency and sharing of relevant data is important to customers and the whole supply chain. “They need to know that what we’re doing works for them. And they have a right to demand information if they are expected to be paying more.”

Biofuels to bridge the gap

Biofuels certainly received a lot attention from panellists and the virtual webinar attendees, whose questions were ably moderated by host Yvonne Chan.

It fell to Mr Kuttan to tackle many of the biofuel questions because his organisation GCMD is in the middle of a study which aims to establish an assurance framework that ensures supply chain transparency of drop-in biofuels, whose applicability can be extended to future drop-in fuels. 

He explained that it covers bio-LNG, bio-methanol, and green ammonia, when they become available in meaningful quantities, but also focuses on currently available biofuels, like biodiesel from used cooking oil and agricultural wastes.  

It was important to understand all aspects of biofuels, including availability, accessibility, supply and demand, as well as the potential to scale up production. 

Mr Kuttan said he is “very encouraged” by the results of the survey with webinar participants which showed that by far the majority were either already using biofuels, committed to, or planning to commit to biofuels in the near future.  

Verifying the supply chain of biofuels

The industry and its customers needed to be reassured that the use of biofuels can be measured for the genuine reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Mr Sreeraman said. 

If the source and the supply chain can be reliably verified, biofuels could become 100% carbon neutral fuel for vessels. There must be clear guidelines, though, and acceptable international standards.

Mr Kuttan was asked if he considered that the International Sustainability Carbon Certification (ISCC) was the best means to verify the source and supply chain of approved biofuels.

He told the audience that GCMD was fully evaluating all certification standards, including ISCC – which was designed in Europe to provide sustainability solutions for fully traceable and deforestation free supply chains – and has already been applied to biofuel supply in Europe and Asia. 

He also made the point that the GCMD study needs to show how the maritime industry can cope with the expected ”lower energy density” of biofuels, and how this impacts the accessibility of biofuels for bunkering in different parts of the world.

Ambition, collaboration, harmonization, action

Moderator Yvonne Chan concluded the very fruitful discussion by asking each panellist for a buzzword or two as a key take-away for all participants:

For CMA CGM’s François-Xavier Accard, it was the need for “harmonized regulations for all.”

Peter Lye, for Anglo American, summed it up in one word: “ambition’.

DNV’s Girish Sreeraman reinforced the need of “collaboration”. 

It was left to Sanjay Kuttan to elaborate – and take us back to the beginning – with his summary: “Bend the curve. Do what we can now, with what we have!” 

If you missed the webinar episode, you may access it here.

Related: DNV ‘Live from Singapore’ webinar: Panel explores challenges and opportunities in maritime digitalization
Related: Future-proofing shipping: The decarbonization game-changer


Photo credit: DNV
Published: 17 February, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

Championing environmental stewardship: DNV partners Anglo American for vessel electrification feasibility study

Study revealed the potential transformation of Anglo American supported- Waterways Watch Society’s petrol-powered boats into battery electric vessels, aligning with their mission to safeguard waterways in Singapore.





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Classification society DNV recently sat down with global mining company and shipowner Anglo American to discuss their joint high-level vessel electrification feasibility study in the first episode of DNV’s Decarbonization Insights series.

In this session, DNV executed a feasibility study of battery electric boat operations for Waterways Watch Society (WWS), a non-profit organization supported by Anglo American.

The study revealed the potential transformation of WWS’ petrol-powered boats into cutting-edge battery electric vessels, aligning with their mission to safeguard waterways in Singapore.

Currently, there are six workboats powered by petrol at Waterways Watch Society, used/deployed for educational purposes, including collecting litter around Singapore’s waters.

The scope of work included technical assessment and commercial study on the electrification solutions.

Anesan Naidoo, Head of Sustainability at Anglo American, discussed how the innovative collaboration emphasizes their dedication to corporate responsibility, while DNV experts shared their perspectives on how vessel electrification is reshaping the landscape of maritime decarbonization in Singapore and the wider region.

Watch a trailer of the first episode of DNV’s Decarbonization Insights featuring Anglo American on DNV’s official YouTube Channel here.


Photo credit: DNV
Published: 15 April 2024

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18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme

MPA will be making several announcements related to developments on low- emission maritime energy transition technologies, maritime artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and manpower, over the five-day event.





18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme

The Singapore Maritime Week (SMW), organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), returned in its 18th edition with more than 50 events from 15 to 19 April 2024 at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Themed ‘Actions meet Ambition’, MPA said SMW is organised around four pillars - decarbonisation, digitalisation, services, and talent development. More than 10,000 maritime professionals from close to 40 countries, including delegates from governments, port authorities, international organisations, as well as industry experts and thought leaders are expected to attend SMW. 

In addition, the inaugural Expo@SMW trade exhibition, taking place from 16 to 18 April 2024 as part of SMW 2024, will showcase maritime solutions by close to 50 companies and startups.

SMW 2024 was launched by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance. Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Mr Chee highlighted that Maritime Singapore has continued to grow year-on-year – a mark of the industry’s vote of confidence in Singapore, and the strong tripartite relationship between business, workers, and the government. 

Looking forward, Mr Chee said that Singapore aims to be a global hub for innovation, reliable and resilient maritime operations, and maritime talent, to better serve the current and future needs of our stakeholders and allow Singapore to contribute to global development and sustainability goals effectively.

A maritime dialogue was held on the topic of Supply Chain Resilience, Digitalisation and Decarbonisation. The panel, comprising Dr Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport, Germany, Mr Even Tronstad Sagebakken, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Norway, and Mr Francis Zachariae, Secretary-General, International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) was moderated by Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs. 

The panel discussed the challenges the maritime sector faces when dealing with these changes and disruptions, the efforts and measures undertaken by them to prepare the maritime industry and its workforce, and the potential for various stakeholders to work together to address these challenges and capture new opportunities.

Other participants of SMW 2024 include Mr Arsenio Dominguez, Secretary- General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO); and Mr Sergio Mujica, Secretary-General of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Speaking at his first maritime event in Singapore since his appointment as the Secretary-General of the IMO in January 2024, Mr Dominguez delivered a keynote speech at the Singapore Maritime Lecture that was moderated by Ambassador Mary Seet-Cheng, Singapore’s Non-Resident High Commissioner to the Republic of Fiji and Non-Resident Ambassador to the Pacific Islands Forum.

Secretary-General Dominguez emphasised the importance of ensuring seafarer safety and wellbeing, particularly in the light of geopolitical changes impacting shipping, and highlighted his vision for IMO to flourish as a transparent, inclusive, diverse institution. 

He also noted the rapid green and digital transition unfolding in the maritime sector, driven by the targets set by IMO Member States in the IMO 2023 GHG Strategy. 

Mr. Dominguez said: “IMO is on track to adopt mid-term measures by late 2025 to cut GHG emissions, to reach net zero targets. Alongside this regulatory work, there is a need to consider issues such as safety, pricing, infrastructural availability to deliver new fuels, lifecycle emissions, supply chain constraints, barriers to adoption and more.”

“Seafarers will require training to be able to operate new technologies as well as zero or near-zero emission powered vessels safely.”

“We need ‘early movers’ in the industry as well as forward-looking policy makers to take the necessary risks and secure the right investments that will stimulate long-term solutions for the sector. In this regard, we welcome the efforts being undertaken by Singapore to facilitate collaboration among maritime stakeholders, including the MPA-led Maritime Energy Training Facility.”

SMW 2024 will also bring together MPA’s Green and Digital Shipping Corridor (GDSC) partners, namely Australia, six ports in Japan, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, Port of Rotterdam, and Tianjin, to discuss GDSC initiatives to support IMO’s Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emission reduction targets for international shipping.

These include the development and uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission fuels at scale along corridor routes, technologies to accelerate decarbonisation, collaboration to enhance operational and digital efficiencies, as well as updates on key milestones achieved for the Singapore and Port of Rotterdam and the Singapore and Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach GDSCs.

MPA will ink several partnerships and agreements with more than 30 partners during SMW 2024 in areas such as training and cybersecurity. These partners comprise international organisations, foreign governments and agencies, classification societies, maritime partners, institutes of higher learning, tech companies, trade associations, and unions. 

MPA will also be making several announcements related to developments on low- emission maritime energy transition technologies, maritime artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and manpower, over the five-day event.

MPA and 22 partners , including the leading global marine engine manufacturers, today also signed a Letter of Intent to establish the Maritime Energy Training Facility (METF). The METF, supported by the tripartite maritime community in Singapore, aims to close the skills and competencies gap for the safe operation of new zero or near-zero emission-powered vessels.


Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 15 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels

Facility will be anchored by new dual-fuel marine engine simulator for training on safe handling, bunkering and management of incidents involving the use of alternative marine fuels such as methanol.





MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Monday (15 April) said it will establish an industry-supported facility to address the current competencies gap by training the global maritime workforce in handling and operating vessels using clean marine fuels. 

MPA said there is a need for more maritime personnel and seafarers to be trained and equipped to operate these ships safely and efficiently as the number of ships operating on zero or near-zero emission fuels grows. 

With hundreds of crew changes conducted daily here, Singapore’s Maritime Energy Training Facility (METF) is well placed to support the training of international seafarers. Ship owners and operators can expect time and training cost savings by tapping on METF’s training facilities. 

Around 10,000 seafarers and other maritime personnel are expected to be trained at METF from now to the 2030s, as the facilities are progressively developed by 2026.

The Letter of Intent to establish METF was signed by MPA and 22 partners comprising global marine engine manufacturers, international organisations, classification societies, trade associations, unions, and institutes of higher learning, at the SMW 2024 opening ceremony. 

The setting up of METF follows from recommendations put forth by the Tripartite Advisory Panel, formed in early 2023 by SMF and supported by MPA, to identify emerging and future skills and competencies to build for the maritime workforce.

METF will be established as a decentralised network of training facilities in Singapore. It will be anchored by a new dual-fuel marine engine simulator for training on the safe handling, bunkering and management of incidents involving the use of alternative fuels, such as methanol and ammonia. 

Other training facilities supporting METF include the integrated engine room and bridge simulator by the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) at Singapore Polytechnic (SP), as well as the bridge and engine simulator at Wavelink Maritime Institute (WMI)2 for crew resource management training. 

For emergency response training, METF is supported by gas and fire safety training facilities at Poly Marina operated by the SMA, as well as AR-enabled scenario- based training developed by SP’s Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety.

METF will also tap various partners’ assets and training technologies to upskill the global maritime workforce, including seafarers, on the operations, bunkering and management of zero or near-zero emission-powered vessels. New training courses and curriculum will be developed by METF’s partners, and progressively rolled out from this year.

MPA also aims to support and contribute to the work of the Maritime Just Transition Task Force (MJTTF) as one of the institutions rolling out the Baseline Training Framework for Seafarers in Decarbonization – which is under development – through METF. 

This will directly contribute to the joint International Maritime Organization (IMO)–MJTTF work to develop training provisions for seafarers in support of decarbonisation of shipping, and complements the IMO's ongoing comprehensive review of the International Convention and Code on Standards of

Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Singapore is currently chairing the IMO Working Group on the comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code, established in 2023 under the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping.

As part of the METF curriculum, SMA has launched one of the Asia Pacific’s first training courses focused on handling methanol as fuel for ships. The training course, accredited by MPA, covers operational and safety protocols during methanol fuelling developed by MPA following the first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering operation conducted in Singapore in July 2023. 

The course also includes a methanol firefighting practical component covering both shipboard and terminal fires. SMA currently offers two sessions of the Basic and Advanced courses every month, with plans to scale up based on the industry’s demands. The course will be open to all maritime personnel and seafarers starting in April 2024.

With strong demand signalled by the industry for such common training facilities, METF is expected to catalyse investments by the industry to develop other training facilities and solutions in Singapore to tap into this growth area. MAN Energy Solutions, one of the leading global engine makers of alternative-fuel engines, recently opened a new mixed-purpose facility. 

The facility includes a new MAN PrimeServ5 training academy for customers and employees on the safe operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of all MAN Energy Solutions equipment. METF is also expected to benefit corporate training academies set up by shipping companies, such as those from Eastern Pacific Shipping, to train their global seafaring crew and shore-based personnel.

The MPA – SMF Joint Office for Talent and Skills (Joint Office) was established in March 2024 to coordinate and drive the tripartite efforts by the government, industry, and unions to upskill the Maritime Singapore workforce across shore-based and seafaring jobs and to ensure Singapore continues to have access to a diversity of maritime talents and experts.

To provide workers with greater flexibility in the acquisition of new skills, the Joint Office will work with IHLs and industry to review and progressively convert relevant short-term courses, or on-the-job training into accredited competency-based micro-credentials. These will focus on emerging skills such as maritime cybersecurity, digitalisation, and sustainability. 

The micro-credentials could potentially be stacked towards formal or industry-recognised qualifications and to fill the gap in quality and flexible upskilling or reskilling opportunities for working adults while they remain in full employment. The Joint Office plans to expand the micro-credential pathway, allowing recognition of more courses and workplace learning as micro-credentials over time.

Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op


Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 15 April 2024

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