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Dubai: Shipowners and peers discuss realities of biofuel adoption at VPS Biofuels Seminar

ADNOC L&S, Gulf Energy Maritime, Cockett Marine Oil, Mideast/Bahri Ship Management and VPS experts present their views on biofuel bunker hurdles at the VPS Biofuels Seminar in Dubai on 16 March.




VPS Biofuels Seminar Dubai

Challenges of adopting biofuel as part of shipping’s decarbonisation drive were amongst topics discussed by expert panelists at the VPS Biofuels Seminar in Dubai on Thursday (16 March).

The session found local United Arab Emirates-based players already engaging in respective emission reduction trials before IMO 2030 – with many arriving at their own set of conclusions.

ADNOC L&S – Embracing biofuels in the ‘year of sustainability’ 

Eng Khalid Al Shehhi, Marine Projects Manager, ADNOC L&S noted the maritime logistics arm of ADNOC Group already adopting biofuels for certain commercial operations on the back of “very successful” biofuel trials completed earlier in 2020.

He noted relationship with OEMs as key to supporting ADNOC L&S’ plan of using B20 biofuel; however, the company eventually decided to commit to B5 biofuel even though vessels initially passed B20 trials.

“One of the primary challenges in adopting alternative fuels [biofuel] is the high cost when compared to conventional fossil fuels. As a consequence of our biofuel trials, we determined B5 blend as being more suited for our operating model and emission reductions aim,” he said.

Eng Khalid noted 2023 to be the “year of sustainability” for the UAE due to the upcoming 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) to be held in the region.

“Our efforts at ADNOC L&S are motivated by ADNOC sustainability targets for 2030 and IMO future emissions reduction targets; for this, we are investigating viable decarbonisation alternatives, with biofuels serving as a viable drop-in option.”

Gulf Energy Maritime – Alternative marine fuels ‘a gamble’ for shipowners

Rajeev Gupta, Head of Fleet, Gulf Energy Maritime (GEM) said shipowners such as themselves are facing challenges sourcing for alternative bunker fuels even though the sector has been focusing on decarbonisation.

“It's not an easy decision selecting the engine for a newbuilding today but I would probably go for a dual fuel LNG engine just because there is some infrastructure for bunkering LNG,” said Rajeev.

“As Eng Khalid mentioned, cost is certainly an issue and it's not an easy decision for an operator to take that extra cost because the charterers are not going to pay extra for more expensive bunker fuel.” 

He noted methanol to be a marine fuel favouring chemical tankers but showed apprehension to ammonia being used as a bunker fuel due to its potential dangers.

“It’s a multi-faceted problem and there are no quick solutions that are cheap and easily available; so, I would say it’s a gamble,” highlighted Rajeev.

“IMO is implementing the regulation but the governments and port states are still far behind in implementing the infrastructure to be able to provide these fuels. 

“Unfortunately, the owners become the guinea pigs of having to comply with the regulation, install an engine, but then go searching around the world for suitable fuel.”

Cockett Marine Oil – Biofuels a ‘chicken and egg’ situation

Colin Holloway, Global Head-Technical, Cockett Marine Oil meanwhile noted the firm experiencing a lack of mainstream demand for alternative bunker fuels, including biofuels, but believed marine fuel suppliers will gladly provide avails when enquiries increase.

“I think we’ve already got the idea that it’s a chicken and egg situation. To be honest, to date, we don’t see very much enquiries for biofuel in the UAE and because of that, there’s probably not much availability,” shared Holloway.

“There are a few minor suppliers that are supplying biofuel by truck where you can purchase biodiesel [i.e. B5, B15, etc] but in the interim we can say demand for biofuels have not picked up in the main stream bunker business.

“There is availability for biofuel but not on the scale that is probably needed at this time. However, I am sure the trading companies will supply when demand hits and especially when EU regulations bite from 2024 onwards.”

Mideast/Bahri Ship Management – Adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ approach towards biofuels 

Hendrik Atsma, Snr Manager, Mideast/Bahri Ship Management, noted the company has currently applied a wait-and-see approach towards the adoption of biofuels as bunkers for its fleet.

Though certain countries have been implementing subsidies to assist local shipowners in adopting biofuels for their fleets, Atsma felt biofuels do not present a complete solution towards decarbonisation due to potential environmental issues such as deforestation. So, footprint and fingerprint of biofuels sources will be important.

“We do our research for biofuels and are also in talks with engine makers and bunker suppliers,” he said.

“At some point, we even had the idea of starting a trial although unfortunately we decided not to go ahead because of liability issues. We will wait and see what some of the other major players are doing.”

VPS – Biofuel carriage misalignment of flag states, port authorities present hurdle 

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, Managing Director for Asia, Middle East & Africa (AMEA) at VPS, who was moderating the session, called attention to the current misalignment of biofuel policies between flag states and port authorities as a hurdle for its adoption as a marine fuel.

IMO’s Marine Environment Committee in June 2022 approved a new Unified Interpretation (UI) on the application of regulation 18.3 MARPOL Annex VI in relation to biofuels, allowing biofuel blends up to B30 be regarded in the same way as regular oil-based fuels.

“The current MARPOL Annex II allows carriage of up to 24% FAME; however in principle, if you’re above that limit, then as a bunker tanker or bunker barge, you can’t carry it unless you have a chemical tanker notation,” explained Captain Choudhuri.

“Whereas for example, Singapore has implemented a biofuel standard called the WA 2:2022 which allows carriage of up to 50% FAME. 

“That brings the position of flag states into play because at the moment vessels, owners and operators need flag state approval before they carry and burn biofuel. This means though Singapore is fine with its bunker tankers and flagged vessels burning biofuels, the other flags might not be agreeable.

“There’s a need for MARPOL, port authorities and flag states to align respective policies, including the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) & CII (Carbon Intensity Indicator) on the carriage of biofuels because this difference will be a potential hurdle when the product becomes a mainstream bunker fuel.”

Related: VPS to hosts round table meet on biofuel bunkers and its challenges in Greece in March
Related: Singapore: VPS panel discussion presents a masterclass in shipping’s biofuel bunker adoption issues to the deck
Related: GCMD-led consortium completes trials of sustainable biofuel bunker supply chains
Related: VPS: Shipowners turn to ‘highly reactive’ Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) biofuel blends for marine fuel
Related: VPS organises seminar on biofuel bunkers in Singapore
Related: VPS launches APS-BIO offering biofuels protection service against potential damage


Photo credit: VPS
Published: 22 March, 2023

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Shipping Corridor

Singapore, LA and Long Beach unveil Partnership Strategy for Pacific Ocean green and digital shipping corridor

Ports and C40 have commissioned a study to analyse trade flows and vessel traffic between the three locations as well as estimate quantity of near-zero/zero-emission bunker fuels required for this traffic.





Singapore, LA and Long Beach unveils Partnership Strategy for Pacific Ocean green and digital shipping corridor

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and Port of Long Beach (POLB) on Wednesday (6 December) unveiled a Partnership Strategy for a green and digital shipping corridor (GDSC) across the Pacific Ocean at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The release of the Partnership Strategy follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by MPA, POLA and POLB during Singapore Maritime Week in April 2023. The MoU formalised the partnership, which is supported by C40 Cities, with the aim of establishing a GDSC connecting the three global hub ports.

The scope of cooperation through the Partnership Strategy and success indicators specified within build upon the MoU signed in April 2023 and reaffirm the corridor partners’ commitment to drive global action to digitalise and decarbonise the shipping industry and improve efficiencies.

The GDSC Strategy outlines steps to accelerate decarbonisation of the maritime shipping industry by enabling first mover organisations to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the earliest feasible date, in support of the goals defined by the 2023 International Maritime Organization’s Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships. The ports and C40 will work together and with value-chain stakeholders from the fuel and maritime sectors to:

● Coordinate decarbonisation efforts: GDSC partners will help to catalyse and coordinate efforts to enable ships calling at the Port of Singapore, Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the earliest feasible date. 

● Build consensus on green shipping best practices: GDSC partners will seek to establish consensus around green shipping best practices and standards.

● Improve access to and adoption of technology and digital solutions: To enhance supply chain efficiency, resilience and decarbonisation while reducing costs and improving reliability, GDSC partners will work to develop and deploy innovative technology and digital solutions.

● Leverage networks: GDSC partners will work with stakeholders involved in other green shipping initiatives, including those established by the three ports and other parties, to scale the uptake of zero and near-zero emission technologies, fuels and energy sources.

To achieve these aims, a partnership structure and governance mechanism have been developed to provide clarity on the roles and responsibilities of GDSC partners. The strategy also outlines processes for onboarding new participants, financial management, confidentiality and decision-making.

As next steps, the ports and C40 have commissioned a study to analyse trade flows and vessel traffic between Singapore, Los Angeles and Long Beach. The study will estimate the quantity of near-zero and zero-emission fuels required for this traffic, and guide implementation by identifying opportunities for collaboration to advance the development of the GDSC.

The founding partners will now engage stakeholders from across the shipping and fuel supply value chains that share the GDSC's vision and aims, with the intention of onboarding new corridor participants in 2024. 

Mr Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive of MPA, said: “We are excited to see this partnership grow from strength to strength with the Green and Digital Shipping Corridor Partnership Strategy. We have embarked on evaluating the various digital solutions and zero and near-zero fuels options that could be trialled along the route between Singapore and the San Pedro Bay Port Complex. We look forward to the support of all the corridor stakeholders over the coming months to conduct trials and potentially scale them for wider adoption.”

"This Partnership Strategy document is the foundation upon which we'll build the future of maritime shipping,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “Our success requires the resolve and dedication of the three partnering ports as well as our industry partners. Together, we will model the collaboration necessary to achieve our climate and efficiency goals." 

“Over the last two decades, we've learned that collaboration between maritime industry partners is the key to making meaningful progress in reducing emissions and cleaning the air,”Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero said. “This trans-Pacific green shipping corridor takes this concept global. The strategies we develop here can be used as a roadmap by a larger network of seaports and supply chain companies to invest in programs, technologies, software and infrastructure to decarbonize international trade everywhere.”

C40 Executive Director Mark Watts, said: "C40 is proud to support our port partners in delivering this Partnership Strategy. The advancement of this Green and Digital Shipping Corridor brings the shipping sector one step closer to a 1.5°C-aligned trajectory. Green shipping is only achievable through collaboration because no one stakeholder can afford to move unless they know others are likely to follow. That’s where C40 is delighted to help, bringing our network of world-leading cities, which include most of the world’s largest and most forward-looking ports."

Note: The Partnership Strategy document can be viewed here

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 7 December, 2023

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PIL and DP World embark on biofuel bunkering trials at Jebel Ali Port

Both parties will collaborate on trial shipments between Jebel Ali Port in Dubai and destinations within PIL’s network in near term which will include shipments on PIL’s vessels powered by a biofuel blend.





PIL and DP World embark on biofuel bunkering trials at Jebel Ali Port

Singapore-based container operator Pacific International Lines (PIL) on Wednesday (6 December) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DP World, which handles around 10% of the world’s container trade, to jointly develop green solutions to decarbonise global supply chains.

In the near term, both parties will collaborate on trial shipments between Jebel Ali Port in Dubai and destinations within PIL’s network, with initiatives to reduce the shipments’ GHG footprint. This will include shipments on PIL’s vessels powered by a biofuel blend, biofuel bunkering, and deploying container handling equipment at terminals that run on renewable energy to handle the shipments.

Over the longer term, the companies will explore expanding this partnership to include other ports within DP World’s global network, and using other alternative bunker fuels, such as e-LNG, green methanol or green ammonia in PIL’s vessel operations and bunkering.

It was signed by Mr Lars Kastrup, Chief Executive Officer, PIL and Mr Tiemen Meester, Group Chief Operating Officer, Ports & Terminals, DP World, at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), conveying their commitment to combating climate change and the collective goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 or earlier.

Mr Lars Kastrup, Chief Executive Officer, PIL said: “Supply chain resilience and sustainability is the bedrock of global trade growth. With the renewed commitment by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) this year to take a significant step forward to decarbonise the shipping industry, we at PIL are responding actively to IMO’s call and working to invest in and implement green solutions to achieve our target of achieving net zero by 2050. In this regard, we are pleased to have DP World joining us on our sustainability journey. Capitalising on the combined strengths of our two organisations, we can both augment our sustainability efforts as we co-develop solutions to decarbonise our supply chains.”

Mr Tiemen Meester, Group Chief Operating Officer, Ports & Terminals, DP World, said: “Decarbonisation is the single biggest concern for DP World outside the constraints and the physical movement of goods. So, we are transforming our business and the impact global trade has on the climate. We have already committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2040 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. But we must explore partnerships with companies that share our ambitions and technology to be deployed right now for quicker results.”

Photo credit: DP World
Published: 7 December, 2023

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LNG Bunkering

DNV awards AiP to China Merchants Jinling Shipyard for world’s largest PCTC design

DNV has awarded an Approval in Principle certificate to China Merchants Jinling Shipyard (Nanjing) for its 11,000-CEU capacity LNG-fuelled PCTC design at Marintec China trade fair.





DNV awards AiP to China Merchants Jinling Shipyard for world’s largest PCTC design

Classification society DNV on Wednesday (6 December) said it has awarded an Approval in Principle (AiP) certificate to China Merchants Jinling Shipyard (Nanjing) Co., Ltd. for its 11,000-CEU capacity LNG-fuelled pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) design at the Marintec China trade fair. 

Recognized as the world's largest PCTC, the 234m long and 40m wide ship will have 14 decks allowing 11,000 car equivalent units (CEUs) to be stored simultaneously, which not only increases efficiency but also reduces the transport cost per vehicle.

By implementing a combination of decarbonization measures, the so-called “Super Large Smart Green 11,000” design will result in a significant reduction in carbon emissions, in line with the stringent requirements of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) Phase 3 and NOx Tier III. The PCTC will use LNG as its primary fuel and will be equipped with a 4,200cbm LNG storage tank.

With the assistance of ship designer Deltamarin, the hull line of the vessel has been optimised through numerous CFD calculations and ship model tests. Additional energy-saving features include a stern flow optimization device and an air lubrication system, which effectively minimise resistance and reduce the required propulsion power. The integration of hybrid propulsion systems and solar power further underlines the commitment to reducing energy consumption.

"We expect the market for electric vehicles to continue to grow, driving demand for PCTCs. Scale, energy efficiency and low carbon fuel are key to reducing emissions from the transport of these vessels. As a leading class for car carriers, DNV is honoured to be entrusted with the assessment of this next generation of car carriers and we look forward to working with China Merchants to bring these vessels to the water," said Norbert Kray, Regional Manager Greater China at DNV Maritime.

According to China Merchants, the shipyard is already in discussions with potential customers for the 11,000 CEU PCTC.

Photo credit: DNV
Published: 7 December, 2023

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