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MPA blueprint prepares marine fuels sector for multi-fuel bunkering transition

11 Mar 2022

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Wednesday (9 March) introduced the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint: Working Towards 2050 document.

Bunkering publication Manifold Times provides a curated summary of the ‘Future Marine Fuels, Bunkering Standards and Infrastructure’ section, which specifies MPA’s plans for getting Singapore’s marine refuelling sector ready for a multi-fuel bunkering transition.

Future Maritime Energy Mix

Based on current industry pilots and feasibility studies, MPA believes biofuels and liquified natural gas (LNG) will be the likely interim or transitional fuels used in the near term.

Biofuels, which scored well from the perspective of readiness of supply, infrastructure and maturity of technology, and electrification have been identified as the most viable energy options for harbour craft operating within Singapore.

While not favouring any particular fuel type, MPA expects hydrogen and its carriers (including ammonia, e-methanol) as well as bio-LNG to potentially play important roles in the decarbonisation of international shipping in the mid to long term.

Moving forward, MPA will focus on seven anchors to facilitate the transition towards low and zero-carbon bunker fuels, namely: (i) technology trials and R&D, (ii) supply, (iii) regulations and standards development, (iv) demand, (v) financing, (vi) talent and skill development, and (vii) international collaboration and partnerships.

Technology Trials and R&D

MPA is actively collaborating with industry partners to conduct feasibility studies and pilot trials. Ongoing collaborations include:

Supply – Bunkering, Storage and Distribution

MPA envisages some existing infrastructure to be retrofitted, whilst investments into new infrastructure will allow the scaling up of fuel supply in line with shipping’s future demand for various low and zero-carbon fuels.

To support first movers, MPA is prepared to explore co-funding supply assets for low and zero-carbon fuel solutions by developing an ammonia bunkering ecosystem in Singapore through a pilot programme.

It will comprise of pilot trials, testing bunkering procedures, development of bunkering infrastructure, and honing of operational experiences and capabilities in ammonia bunkering.

Regulations and Standards Development

MPA is working to develop bunkering guidelines for future fuels in ports, such as through the Future Fuels Port Network, to enable the safe transport and bunkering of low and zero-emission fuels.

For ammonia, the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD), setup by MPA and six founding partners in July 2021 has selected classification society DNV to lead a study to define a robust set of safety guidelines and operational envelopes that will establish the basis of a regulatory sandbox for ammonia bunkering trials at two local Singapore sites.

GCMD will also set up an Industry Consultation and Alignment Panel to solicit inputs in response to the findings and recommendations from the study.

In the longer term, MPA also plans to work with stakeholders to develop a set of Technical Reference guidelines on the safe bunkering of ammonia and will partner international partners to achieve harmonised global standards.

Demand – Market Structure and Policy

Given the potential future adoption of hydrogen and its carriers in the maritime industry, MPA is working with various government agencies to assess the land-take, infrastructure and resource needs to build the ecosystem needed to trial the import, storage, distribution, and transportation of hydrogen.

MPA will also partner the agencies to study the demand projections, regulatory incentives, and safety standards for future fuels across different sectors in Singapore.


MPA is working with MAS and industry partners to develop Singapore as a green maritime financing hub and expand the suite of green financing options.

This will increase accessibility to sustainability-linked financing for the development of low and zero-carbon fuel solutions.

Talent and Skill Development

Singapore’s efforts in maritime decarbonisation are projected to create and upskill a total of 1,200 sustainability-related jobs over the next ten years. This figure is expected to increase over time, as more green innovative technologies mature and the industry transits to meet IMO targets in 2030 and 2050.

MPA will work with industry partners to identify and map out emerging job roles and skills needs, and support enterprises to equip Singapore’s maritime workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge to support the development of a low and zero-carbon bunkering hub in Singapore.

MPA will also be providing co-funding support to employers and employees to ensure Singapore’s maritime workforce has the necessary relevant skills and knowledge in the domain of maritime decarbonisation.

International Partnerships

Together with the Port of Rotterdam and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan, MPA signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in October 2020 to form the Future Fuels Port Network.

The FFPN has developed a roadmap to explore the harmonisation of standards for the future marine fuels and pool the knowledge and network of various members to spur the development of future fuels, including the coordination of possible joint bunkering pilot runs with identified shipping lines between ports.

In June 2021, Singapore and Australia announced the formation of a “Low-Emissions Maritime and Shipping Initiative”. As part of the initiative, Australia and Singapore have each committed $10 million to support demonstrations and commercial scale projects, through delivery partners for low emission fuels and technologies for international maritime and port operations.

Related: Singapore: MPA maritime decarbonisation blueprint sets target for bunkering sector
Related: MPA and partners establish Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Related: DNV selected to lead ‘pioneering’ ammonia bunkering safety study in Singapore
Related: SIBCON 2020: Singapore enters memorandum of cooperation on future fuels port network


Photo credit and source: Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint: Working Towards 2050
Published: 11 March, 2022

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