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Interview: Singfar International aims to be a leading global player in sustainable shipping and bunkering

Singfar embarks on plans to put it in good stride to support Singapore and global road to maritime decarbonisation by 2030/2050, shares Pai Hong Yao, Managing Director of Singfar.




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Singapore-based independent vessel owning, newbuilding management, and chartering firm Singfar International Pte Ltd (SFI) has plans to become a leading player in sustainable shipping and bunkering in the republic and beyond, learns Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times.

In May 2021, SFI entered into a memorandum of understanding with Lianyungang Shenghua Shipbuilding Co., Ltd (LYGSH), China, for the joint development and construction of a series of 7,000 dwt liquefied natural gas (LNG) propelled dual fuel (DF) bunker tankers.

Ambitions in Sustainability

“The maritime industry is currently undergoing massive disruptions to achieve the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s vision of decarbonisation by 2050,” shares Mr Pai Hong Yao, Managing Director of SFI.

“We believe this impetus and the rapid advancements in maritime technologies will lead to a greater demand for greener and more efficient vessels.”

“At SFI, we strive to build new vessels which not only comply with the latest regulations, but also allow our charterers and buyers to be at the forefront of the sustainability curve.

“As such, we have divested a number of our conventional and older tonnage over the past six months at fairly attractive market valuations. This will allow us to execute our company strategy to build a younger, greener and more efficient fleet.”

According to Pai, SFI’s pipeline of newbuildings, including two IMO Tier-III (USGC approved) scrubber-fitted Suezmaxes and the series of 5+5 LNG DF bunker tankers ordered from LYGSH, demonstrates the company’s commitment to sustainable shipping.

“SFI’s focus on sustainability also aligns well with the Maritime and Port of Singapore (MPA)’s push for the republic to become a leading hub for maritime decarbonisation,” he states.

“We believe our adoption of the latest technologies, coupled with our extensive newbuilding expertise and vessel management, will allow us to contribute meaningfully to Singapore’s maritime sector’s sustainability agenda.”

Commercial Operations

SFI and its subsidiaries, which mainly derive revenue from charter fees, currently own and manage 26 existing crude and product tankers, of which 23 are bunkering tankers. The company has another two Suezmaxes and a conventional bunker tanker in the newbuilding stage, in addition to the 5+5 LNG DF bunker tankers under joint development with LYGSH.

SFI serves a myriad of local and international charterers, ranging from national oil companies, oil majors, to international trading houses. It has further chartered out a number of vessels to various parties on both spot and time charter contracts – creating customer diversification for its business.

“As SFI embarks on our plans to grow both locally and internationally, we need to be mindful of the challenges posed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy in the short-to-medium term,” opines Pai.

“For the longer-term horizon, the overall health of the Singapore bunker industry will be vital to our growth plans.”

Alternative Fuels Direction

Looking ahead, Pai firmly believes SFI to be possessing the requisite expertise and experience to support the maritime sector’s transition towards a low-carbon future.

“The market is extremely fluid as developments are constantly made in both fuel sources and engine technologies,” he notes.

“Our core focus will be on supporting the transition to lower carbon fuels, which we are currently pursuing though our investment in the LNG-powered, DF bunker tankers.”

“However, we are also closely monitoring the developments of alternative marine fuels and technologies. SFI has invested in research and development through partnerships with relevant players in an effort to capture early market positions.”

A Global Player with Strong Local Roots

Moving forward, SFI endeavours to build a global fleet that creates value for stakeholders to “make Singapore proud,” according to Pai.

“Our company strives to provide quality tonnage assets on both spot and longer-term basis to third parties in the market,” he exclaims.

“Besides being commercially profitable, we want to be a leader in driving sustainability at the port of Singapore and beyond. The types of investments that we are making at SFI is a clear reflection of that.”

“My vision is to grow SFI into a world-class player in sustainable shipping and bunkering, with strong Singapore roots,” concludes Pai.

Related: Singapore: Singfar International makes shipping market debut with 5+5 DF bunker tanker newbuilding order


Photo credit: Singfar International
Published: 31 May, 2021

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HD KSOE receives Lloyd’s Register AiP for ammonia fuel supply system

Fuel supply system addresses the pressing need for sustainable fuel solutions, significantly contributing to efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global fleet, says LR.





HD KSOE receives LR AiP for ammonia fuel supply system

Classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) has granted Approval in Principle (AiP) to HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (HD KSOE) for their ammonia fuel supply system, which will be used on ammonia new constructions.

The newly developed ammonia fuel supply system shows complete compatibility with high-efficiency cargo handling systems and ammonia engines.

The approval certifies the fuel supply system against LR’s rigorous risk-based certification (RBC-1) process and marks the successful conclusion of a Joint Development Project (JDP) between LR and HD KSOE, which began in April 2024.

The primary objective of the JDP was to develop and refine the design concept of an ammonia fuel supply system for ammonia-fuelled vessels.

LR said the AiP represents the substantial step that LR and HD KSOE have taken towards pioneering innovative solutions for emission reduction in the maritime industry.

“Ammonia, with its capacity to meet the rising demand for emission reduction solutions, represents a promising alternative fuel for the maritime industry,” it said.

“This fuel supply system addresses the pressing need for sustainable fuel solutions, significantly contributing to efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global fleet.”  

Young-Doo Kim, Global Technical Support Office Representative for Korea, Lloyd’s Register, said: “This approval in principle represents another significant step for developing the technology required for shipowners and operators' adoption of ammonia, one of the primary candidate fuels for the maritime energy transition.”

“We are pleased to continue our strong working relationship with HD KSOE through this joint project that will provide a valuable solution for ammonia propelled ships.”

Young-jun Nam, Vice Present & COO of HD KSOE, said: “Ammonia is a zero-carbon fuel that is attracting great attention in terms of economics and supply stability. HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering will lead the field of eco-friendly equipment and materials to take the lead in commercialising ammonia in 2025.”


Photo credit: Lloyd’s Register
Published: 25 June, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Erik Thun takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel tanker “Thun Vettern”

Vessel, which is the latest contribution to the Vinga-series, has dual-fuel capability, runs on LNG/LBG or gasoil and is fully equipped for shore power connection when available in ports.





Erik Thun takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel tanker “Thun Vettern”

Shipping firm Erik Thun on Monday (24 June) said it has taken delivery of Thun Vettern, a 17,999-dwt vessel, which was built by China Merchants Jinling Shipyard in Yangzhou.

The vessel is an upgraded version of the sister Thun Venern. Thun Vettern is the latest contribution to the “Vinga-series”, all trading within the Gothia Tanker Alliance. The Thun Vettern is the newest and latest edition to the Vinga-series and she has ice class 1A. 

The vessels in the Vinga-series all have dual-fuel capability, run on LNG/LBG or gasoil and are fully equipped for shore power connection when available in ports.

They are designed with a battery hybrid solution and several innovative features that reduce fuel and energy consumption, resulting in extensively lowered emissions of CO2, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and hazardous particles. 

The firm said the ships have scored the best Energy Efficiency Design Index or EEDI value in their segment globally, meaning that they are the most energy efficient vessels according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

The Vinga-series is designed for the intense and demanding trade in the North Sea and Scandinavia, well suited to meet the growing European demand for biofuels and renewable feedstocks.

Erik Thun´s close partner Furetank will technically and commercially manage the new vessel which upon delivery will enter into the Gothia Tanker Alliance network.

“Sustainability work has always been and will be a focus ahead for Erik Thun. To take delivery of a resource efficient, top performing product tanker like Thun Vettern, and further deepen our good and long-term co-operation with Furetank is a great example of our vision to be a sustainable Swedish partner over generations,” said Johan Källsson, Managing Director at Erik Thun AB.


Photo credit: Erik Thun
Published: 25 June, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Wärtsilä on LNG bunker fuel: Expert answers to 17 important questions

Firm gives an expert overview on top questions on LNG bunker fuel including if LNG is a future fuel and what does LNG being a transition fuel means.





RESIZED Chris Pagan

Technology group Wärtsilä on Wednesday (19 June) gave an expert overview on top 17 questions related to LNG bunker fuel in this insight article including if LNG is a future fuel: 

Your choice of fuel affects both your profitability and your vessel’s environmental compliance. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a safe and cost-effective fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants. LNG is playing a key role as a transition fuel and is widely seen as the first step towards decarbonising the maritime industry.

Switching to LNG as fuel for ship propulsion requires investment but can save you fuel costs, increase your profitability and reduce compliance risks. The expert answers to these 17 questions will tell you what you need to know about LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping.

What is LNG?

LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to -162°C (-260°F), turning it into a clear, odourless liquid that is easy to ship and store. LNG is typically 85–95% methane, which contains less carbon than other forms of fossil fuels. It is a compact, efficient form of energy that is ideal for ship propulsion.

What is LNG used for?

LNG is primarily used as a clean-burning energy source. It is used for electricity generation, heating, cooking, and as a transportation fuel. LNG is also used as a raw material for products like fertilisers and plastics.

In the shipping industry, LNG as fuel is used for ship propulsion, auxiliary power generation and other onboard energy needs. LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping has gained wide popularity due to its clean-burning properties and potential to help meet stricter emissions regulations.

What are the sources of LNG as fuel for ships? What is bioLNG?

LNG as fuel for ships is produced from natural gas extracted from underground reserves, including both onshore and offshore gas fields.

BioLNG is LNG produced from biogas, which is generated from organic waste like food scraps, agricultural waste, manure and sewage sludge. BioLNG is considered a renewable fuel and can further reduce the carbon footprint of ships using LNG fuel systems.

 Is LNG just methane?

LNG is primarily methane (typically 85–95%), but it also contains small amounts of ethane, propane and other hydrocarbons. LNG can also contain trace amounts of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The exact composition of LNG may vary depending on the source of the natural gas and the liquefaction process used.

 LNG fuel vs. fuel oil: is LNG better than diesel?

Compared to diesel fuel oil, LNG offers several advantages. LNG produces significantly lower emissions when burned, including:

  • 20–30% less CO2 
  • 15-25% less total GHG
  • 90% less NOx 
  • 99% less SOx 
  • Almost no particulate matter (PM) 

LNG engines are also quieter. 

However, LNG has a lower energy density than diesel, so using LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping will require more fuel and therefore larger fuel tanks to achieve the same range.

 What are the advantages and disadvantages of LNG fuel?

The key advantages of LNG as fuel include reduced emissions and cost competitiveness. There is also an established and continuously growing global network of LNG bunkering facilities.

The disadvantages of using LNG as fuel for ships include the need for specialised equipment and training and the potential for methane slip.

Methane slip is when unburned methane, a potent greenhouse gas, escapes into the atmosphere. Modern dual-fuel engines will minimise this issue. Depending on engine type and load, you can reduce methane slip by up to 65% by upgrading your ship’s existing engines. Over the last 30 years, Wärtsilä has reduced the methane slip from its engines by around 90%.

 Is LNG environmentally friendly?

LNG is cleaner burning than traditional marine fuels, but it is still a fossil fuel. BioLNG, which is LNG produced from organic waste or biomass, can be considered a more sustainable alternative to fossil-based LNG as it has a lower carbon footprint. However, the production and combustion of bioLNG still emit some greenhouse gases. LNG can be seen as a bridging fuel in the transition to alternative fuels like methanol and ammonia, which aren’t yet widely available at scale.

 Is LNG a future fuel?

LNG both is and isn’t a future fuel. It enables lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduces other harmful air pollutants compared to fuel oil, but it is still a fossil fuel. Sustainable future fuels are crucial for maritime decarbonisation, but the current cost, limited availability and insufficient infrastructure are challenging for operators. This gives LNG an important role to play in the shipping industry’s transition to a zero-carbon future.

As more ports develop LNG bunkering infrastructure and more ships are built with LNG fuel systems, the use of LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping is expected to increase. LNG is considered a stepping stone on the path to decarbonisation as the industry moves closer to using true future fuels such as methanol and ammonia.

Note: The full article by Wärtsilä can be found here.


Photo credit: Chris Pagan on Unsplash
Published: 24 June, 2024

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