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IBIA comments on IMO’s GHG strategy to MEPC 78

It is clear from MEPC 78 that revision of IMO’s initial GHG Strategy to decide on levels of ambition and discussions on further regulations to meet those ambitions will be challenging, says IBIA.

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The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) on Tuesday (14 June) published an article commenting on IMO’s GHG strategy revision, including IMO’s levels of ambitions (GHG reduction targets), that were discussed at MEPC 78:

There are strong signals that the revision of the IMO’s Initial Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from shipping will bring much more ambitious targets, significantly speeding up the sector’s transition to a carbon-neutral future. Agreement on the revised IMO GHG Strategy is still some way off.

The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee continued discussions on the revision of IMO’s greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy at its 78th session last week (MEPC 78, 6-10 June), making no decisions, but after intense debate agreed to holding to hold an intersessional GHG working group (ISWG-GHG 13) before the next session (MEPC 79, 12-16 December 2022). The revised strategy is due to be approved at MEPC 79 with a view to adopting a revised strategy in mid-2023 at MEPC 80. There will be further sessions of the working group prior to MEPC 80 as well.

MEPC 78, like MEPC 77, once again saw a large number of Member States supporting a complete phasing out of GHG emission from shipping by 2050, compared to the current 50% reduction target. 

There were also proposals to strengthen the level of ambition for 2030, and to introduce additional milestones with targets to be met between 2030 and 2050.

There was, however, opposition to this approach from a significant number of Member States. They argued that it is premature to strengthen 2030 targets, that phasing out GHG from shipping by 2050 is not a realistic target, and would have a heavy impact on international trade and possible restrict trade. 

The impacts on developing states from the costs associated with the energy transition was stressed again and again. Increased freight rates as ships face higher fuel bills, and the cost of setting up production and supply infrastructure for carbon neutral fuels are major concerns.

Moreover, there were calls for the revision of the IMO’s GHG strategy to be evidence-based, not just focusing on targets, with a need for more data and a feasibility study before setting realistic goals.

The above, in a nutshell, summarises some of the main lines of division between Member States at the IMO. There are also varying views on the specific policies to support the IMO’s levels of ambitions (GHG reduction targets), such as how to calculate emissions from shipping (well to wake, or only tank to wake); the exact form, function and magnitude of market-based measures; and various other proposals for regulations to put shipping and the marine fuel supply industry on a path to reach short, mid-term and long-term GHG reduction targets.

IBIA took the floor during MEPC 78 to express our views on some of these issues.  

Regarding the calls for the revision of the IMO’s GHG strategy to be evidence-based, IBIA’s IMO representative, Unni Einemo, said: “We recognise the desire and need for analysis, reviews and impact assessments associated with the IMO’s GHG strategy, but we must also recognise that it is not possible at this stage to fully and accurately predict availability of solutions in 2050, or the full impact of 2050 reduction targets. Nevertheless, various stakeholders need clear targets to reach for; we need that certainty to have confidence in the investments required. The IMO has committed to adopting a revised GHG Strategy in 2023, so we believe an ISWG dedicated to this subject will be needed to make progress, which is evident from the various concerns raised. Moreover, agreeing now to dedicate an ISWG to the revision of the IMO GHG Strategy does not pre-empt the outcome.”

IBIA has not stated a specific position regarding the level of ambition for 2050, but we have noted the proposals for a “zero emissions” target, and therefore lent our support to a proposal from ICS.

Einemo told MEPC 78: If, as many have proposed, the revised GHG strategy ends up with an ambition to completely phase out GHG emissions from international shipping by 2050, we support the change of terminology to using “net zero” GHG emissions as outlined in MEPC 78/7/2 by ICS. This gives the flexibility to take full well to wake lifecycle emissions into account, which we see as a crucial element to ensure the IMO’s GHG policy is holistic and not causing increased GHG emissions elsewhere.”

IBIA also took the opportunity to comment on other proposals.

“Regarding MEPC 78/7 by the WSC, this document contains several elements that could help us in the task of reducing GHG emissions from shipping. For example, the idea of Green Corridors could be aligned with proposals for the phasing in of a GHG fuel standard, which in our view is an element that will be needed to send a clear demand signal.

In a similar vein, we note with interest the proposal in paragraph 16 of MEPC 78/7/24 by the US, to consider new formulations for the levels of ambition, such as calling for a percentage share of the deep-sea fleet to run on zero-emission fuels.

Both the Green Corridor concept and the US proposal would work alongside the idea of combining a GHG fuel standard requirement with pooling, meaning a group of ships could achieve such targets rather than individual ships. Pooling could provide the same overall net emission reductions from international shipping, but facilitate a gradual uptake in the global fleet of fuels and technologies that cannot be used directly by existing ships due to major technical barriers.

We wonder if there is also a way to combine pooling and Green Corridors with elements proposed by Japan in MEPC 78/7/5 to reward early adopters of low or zero emission ships, to provide incentives for first movers.

Combining these various elements could serve the purpose of providing certainty of demand for those investing in production and supporting supply infrastructure of carbon-neutral fuels and technologies, while achieving specific GHG reduction targets for the global fleet in a way that allows the gradual phasing in of ships that are ready to use new fuels and technologies,” Einemo told MEPC 78.

It is clear from MEPC 78 that the revision of the IMO’s initial GHG Strategy to decide on levels of ambition will be challenging, as will discussions on the further regulations that will be needed to meet those ambitions.

 

Photo credit: IBIA
Published: 17 June, 2022

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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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Events

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.

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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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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.

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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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