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FuelTrust: How you can accurately measure bunker fuel emissions to ensure ESG compliance

Digital technology can help measure bunker fuel emissions more accurately and help owners and operators demonstrate regulatory compliance, and manage fuel quality.




FuelTrust: Early warning is the best protection against contaminated bunkers

FuelTrust, marine fuel tracking solutions provider, on Friday (17 March) published an article on how a digital technology can help measure bunker fuel emissions more accurately, help owners comply with regulations related to emissions and manage marine fuel quality: 

By Darren Shelton

Regulatory systems for monitoring and measuring emissions base their enforcement programs on generalized calculations, but these may only approximate a vessel’s true emissions. Using digital technology we can measure bunker fuel emissions more accurately and help owners and operators demonstrate regulatory compliance, pay only for the emissions they emit, and manage fuel quality in an increasingly complex marine fuel ecosystem.

The shipping industry’s ambitions for decarbonization are rapidly evolving and accelerating. In April, signatories to the Poseidon Principles will meet to decide whether they adopt a commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. As the banks that fund much of the industry adhere to the Poseidon Principles – requiring them to track how their loan portfolios’ align with emissions targets – this will be a huge step up for the industry. The significance of this decision will demand the shipping sector and its lenders scrutinize individual vessel performance much more tightly, and adopt clean technology faster than required by the current IMO 2050 initiative – and that will have enormous industry impact.

At the same time, the pathways to decarbonization are becoming more complex, with calls for the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme to be more ambitious; to embrace all GHGs and, crucially, calculate impacts and therefore costs on a well-to-wake basis. The change proposed would put pressure on shipowners, charterers and vessel operators to have a much clearer idea of what GHGs their vessel emits under operation, as well as a very clear idea of the provenance and quality of the fuels they use.

As shipping’s energy transition accelerates, the industry will face tremendous logistical challenges and financial risk and require a comprehensive compliance system. While this won’t necessarily dictate an urgent need to make binding technology choices, it will require all parties to more accurately and honestly measure and account for GHG emissions. With fuel costs attributed to over 50% of a vessel’s operating costs, a trusted, transparent, and traceable marine fuel ecosystem is critical.

A light in the dark

The marine fuel sector is historically opaque in its operations. Fuel users and suppliers are challenged to understand the history and complete make-up of the fuel they use. How exactly it was blended, or whether it may have been contaminated when it was stored, are questions that may not have clear indicators. 

Nonetheless, the treatment of a batch of fuel could have a significant impact on how it behaves in an engine, and subsequently how a vessel performs and the emissions from it.

Knowing how a fuel will combust in an engine is key to understanding what emissions it will produce and how its chemical energy will be translated into vessel performance. FuelTrust uses artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to authenticate relationships across the marine fuel lifecycle, and by verifying data from shared sources, validates decarbonization and compliance.

FuelTrust provides clear insight into when, where and from whom quality fuel is supplied allowing operators to alleviate the financial impact of low-quality fuel and mitigate regulatory risk, for a more sustainable shipping sector.

A way to the truth

The Poseidon Principles and all emissions trading and credit schemes currently measure vessel emissions using guidelines from governments that are based on generalized calculations – a one size fits all approach. These calculations are formulated to simplify enforcement. They overlook the range of different engine types and how operations and maintenance decisions might influence their performance. At a vessel level, emissions are estimated using manufacturer specifications and ranges classified by fuel type and grade. The resulting figure can only be a rough approximation of the emissions of a vessel.

To provide more accurate emissions analyses, we use AI and blockchain technologies. Our blockchain-enabled technology authenticates relationships across the marine fuel lifecycle, allowing users to create a decentralized, immutable store of information – a single shared source of truth – recording the lifecycle of the fuel they supply or use. In this way, we eliminate the opacity that has been typical of the bunker sector.

We then apply our AI technology, which we call the AI Digital Chemist™, to analyse the data recorded in the blockchain. The AI technology analyses information from supplier data, BDNs, certificates of analysis, and vessel operation data to re-run the molecular interactions that take place during fuel combustion and provide more accurate and representative analyses of a given vessel, using a specific fuel.

A brighter future

The future of the marine fuel industry will involve a range of fuels, much as it does today. These fuels will be sourced differently from the fossil fuels and fossil-derived fuels currently in use, and in many instances will be of a different chemical compound. But a lack of insight into how a batch of fuel has been handled through the supply chain could mean stakeholders from owners and operators to financiers could risk failing in emissions compliance and decarbonization alignment.

Our data already tells us that different batches of the same fuel can have vastly different characteristics, which enables savvy operators to select and bunker the fuel batch that will deliver the best vessel and emissions performance for them. As the energy transition in shipping moves forwards, the alternative fuels that come on the market will be available in a mix of fossil-derived, biogenic and synthetically produced blends. With such a diversity of fuel choices on the market, all stakeholders will need trusted, transparent and scientifically verified emissions performance data to help them mitigate the financial and ESG challenges they face, and deliver a sustainable global commercial shipping fleet – and with it, a brighter future for our industry and society.


Photo credit: FuelTrust
Published: 22 March, 2023

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Singapore: Maritime Census 2023 survey deadline extended to 23 October 

‘MPA is conducting an annual survey to collect timely statistics on the maritime industry’s activities, technology, sustainability and manpower developments,’ says the port authority.





SG bunker tanker sailing Photo by Manifold Times

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Wednesday (27 September) said the Maritime Census 2023 survey deadline has been extended to 23 October. 

“MPA is conducting an annual survey to collect timely statistics on the maritime industry’s activities, technology, sustainability and manpower developments,” it said in a social media post. 

Maritime firms selected for the survey will be notified by email or post to complete the survey online via

“Your participation will help us shape policies and programmes that will drive #MaritimeSG forward,” it added. 

Manifold Times previously reported MPA announcing it was conducting the census to collect timely statistics. 

Related: Singapore: MPA conducts Maritime Census 2023 to collect timely statistics

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 28 September, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

GCMD, BCG survey highlights three maritime decarbonisation archetypes

Survey identified three decarbonisation archetypes within the shipping industry, differentiated in their outlook, investment appetite and the challenges faced.





RESIZED Venti Views on Unsplash ship vessel

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) conducted an industry survey to take stock of shipowners and operators’ progress in establishing six elements needed for the shipping industry to reach net zero, according to BCG on Wednesday (27 September). 

The survey saw strong participation from 128 shipowners and operators across vessel types, fleet sizes and geographies, which collectively own or operate 14,000 merchant vessels, and account for USD500 billion in revenue.

The duo found high decarbonisation ambitions: Most respondents viewed net zero as a strategic priority, and 77% had already set concrete decarbonisation targets. The industry has also mobilised resources to decarbonise: respondents are investing 2% of their revenues into green initiatives, and 87% have personnel working toward green objectives.

The path to net zero for shipowners and operators requires six elements:

  • A robust strategy and roadmap
  • Four specific decarbonisation levers to reduce emissions: operational efficiency, technological efficiency, fuel transition, and shipboard carbon capture
  • Enablers such as dedicated sustainability teams, strategic investments in green initiatives, internal carbon prices, and digitalization

While the industry has made some progress in adopting mature and cost-effective efficiency levers, adoption of complex or nascent levers remains low. Drop-in green fuels are constrained by costs and supply-side gaps, and optimism for future cleaner fuels is yet to translate into firm commitment.

The industry is now at a pivotal point, with many shipowners and operators ramping up their decarbonisation efforts. Three-quarters of respondents plan to increase investments in green initiatives. Stakeholders can build on this momentum with a variety of supportive actions. But to be effective, they need to tailor their interventions to address the specific challenges that shipowners and operators face at each stage of decarbonisation.

Three Decarbonisation Archetypes

GCMD and BCG saw three archetypes, differentiated in their outlook, investment appetite, and the challenges faced.

Frontrunners have the greatest ambitions and are willing to invest heavily. They are pushing boundaries, adopting even nascent decarbonisation levers, such as wind propulsion and air lubrication. A majority plan to pilot shipboard carbon capture solutions by 2025. Frontrunners are also planning to adopt methanol and ammonia as early as 2026 and 2029 respectively, and the availability of fuels and bunkering infrastructure will be critical to enabling adoption.

Followers believe in decarbonising their fleets, but have tighter investment thresholds and a near-term outlook. They have kept pace with Frontrunners in adopting mature and cost-effective efficiency levers, such as main engine improvements and slow steaming, but are behind in the adoption of nascent levers, such as wind propulsion and air lubrication.

Conservatives are still early in their decarbonisation journey, likely due to a lack of awareness and familiarity with the various decarbonisation levers, and the capabilities to assess and deploy them. They are best supported by measures that increase their familiarity with the levers and help contextualise them to their specific fleets and operational requirements.

The research highlights five key actions for stakeholders:

Conduct technical pilots and facilitate data sharing, especially for nascent levers

  • Create innovative financing mechanisms to de-risk adoption of less mature levers
  • Raise awareness, contextualize levers, and build capabilities, especially among Conservatives
  • Start to build out future fuels infrastructure at ports
  • Develop mechanisms to equalize and share the costs of levers across the ecosystem
  • Maritime decarbonization is a complex, critical endeavor. The successful implementation of these five key actions demands a whole-of-value-chain approach. By working together, stakeholders can transform the maritime sector into a beacon of environmental stewardship, and set a course for a greener future where decarbonization and commercial success go hand in hand.

Note: The GCMD-BCG Global Maritime Decarbonisation Survey report can be downloaded here.

Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 28 September, 2023

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Itochu enters MoU with firms for study of ammonia bunkering safety for container carrier

Through this cooperation, several companies and organisations will come together to discuss and study safety issues during ammonia bunkering of a container carrier that uses ammonia as a bunker fuel.





Itochu enters MoU with firms for study of ammonia bunkering safety for container carrier

Tokyo-based Itochu Corporation on Tuesday (22 September) said it has executed a Memorandum of Understanding for a joint study of ammonia bunkering safety for an ammonia-fuelled container carrier among eight companies and organisations with the aim of implementing the use of ammonia as a bunker fuel in shipping industry. 

Through this cooperation, several companies and organisations will come together to discuss and study safety issues during ammonia bunkering of a container carrier that uses ammonia as a main fuel.

“This MOU for Ammonia Bunkering Safety for Container Carrier is an important milestone for social implementation of the use of ammonia as marine fuel on a global scale, and also a necessary step toward the realisation of the Integrated Project consisting of the construction of a global ammonia supply chain and the development of ammonia-fuelled ships by ITOCHU and its partner companies,” the firm said in a statement. 

A joint study that will be carried out under the MOU is a successive phase of the existing Joint Study Framework launched in 2021 by 34 companies and organizations including ITOCHU and Joint Study Framework for Ammonia Bunkering Safety launched in 2022 by 16 companies and organizations including ITOCHU, and focused on discussion and study of safety issues of ammonia bunkering to ammonia-fueled container carriers among experts from port authorities, container liner operators, bunkering related players and shipping company. 

A key subject of the joint study under this MOU for Ammonia Bunkering Safety for Container Carrier is the safety assessment for simultaneous operations of container cargo operations and ammonia bunkering in a container terminal, which is generally required for container carriers to achieve operational efficiencies.

ITOCHU said it is promoting a development of ammonia-fueled container carriers with potential partners following the development of ammonia-fuelled bulk carrier, which obtained Approval in Principle in 2022. ITOCHU will accelerate the development of an ammonia-fueled container carrier based on findings of this MOU for Ammonia Bunkering Safety for Container Carrier and plans to bring it to the international shipping market in late 2020s.

ITOCHU will accelerate the development of sustainable energy systems through these initiatives and ensure its contributions to the SDGs and improvement of related efforts, one of the basic policies laid out in its new medium-term management plan, as the company pursues a low-carbon society.

The eight companies and organisations are; Algeciras Bay Port Authority, Spain; Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands; CMA CGM, France; A.P.Moller Maersk A/S, Denmark; Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Japan; Pavilion Energy Singapore, Singapore; TotalEnergies Marine Fuels, Singapore; and ITOCHU. 

Related: Itochu-led joint study of ammonia as an alternative marine fuel expands to 34 players
Related: 23 industry players participate in joint study of ammonia as an alternative marine fuel
Related: Singapore: Pavilion Energy, MOL, Total join Itochu and Vopak ammonia bunker fuel study
Related: Spain: Itochu, Peninsula enter MOU for joint development of ammonia bunkering in Gibraltar Strait
Related: Japan: “K” Line, ITOCHU and partners receive ClassNK AiP for ammonia-fuelled bulk carrier

Photo credit: Itochu Corporation
Published: 28 September, 2023

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