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Singapore achieves milestone with record year for bunker sales in 2023

A total of 51.82 million tonnes of bunker sales was registered in 2023, surpassing the previous record of 50.64 million tonnes in 2017, says Mr Chee Hong Tat, Acting Minister for Transport.




Singapore achieves milestone with record year for bunker sales in 2023

A total of 51.82 million metric tonnes (mt) of bunker sales was registered in 2023, surpassing the previous record of 50.64 million mt in 2017 – reflecting Singapore’s support to the global shipping community as a bunkering hub, according to Mr Chee Hong Tat, Acting Minister for Transport, on Friday (12 January).

Of this, 1.2% is alternative fuels and this is expected to continue with good growth prospects in the coming year

Chee was announcing a record year in 2023 for Maritime Singapore at Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) New Year Conversations event.

He said Singapore has made good progress in the supply of alternative fuels and the electrification of harbour craft to support maritime decarbonisation and transformation.

“Bunker sales of biofuel blends increased to 520,000 tonnes, which more than tripled from 140,000 mt in 2022. Biofuel blends of up to B30 are commercially available, while trials of up to B100 are on-going. Liquefied natural gas bunker sales amounted to 110,000 mt in 2023, up from 16,000 mt in 2022,” Chee said in a statement.

In July 2023, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) successfully conducted the world’s first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering operation, where about 300 mt of green methanol was supplied for the first time in the Port of Singapore. New fully electric 200-pax passenger ferries and supply vessels were deployed in 2023, operating within port waters to support our maritime ecosystem.

The annual vessel arrival tonnage in the Port of Singapore crossed three billion Gross Tonnage (GT) for the first time, increasing by 9.4% over 2022 and setting a high of 3.09 billion GT in 20231. 

This reflects growth in all segments of our port ecosystem, including container ships, dry bulk carriers, liquid bulk and chemical tankers, ferries and specialised vessels, amidst a global trade slowdown.

“The strong 2023 performance is largely attributed to the recovery in regional trade and the robust tripartite co-operation among the unions, industry and government to consistently enhance the efficiency, reliability and safety in the Port of Singapore,” Chee added.

Singapore Grows as an International Maritime Centre

As a leading International Maritime Centre, Singapore is home to more than 180 international shipping groups as well as other maritime players in finance, insurance, cybersecurity, shipbroking, law and arbitration.

Last year, total business spending by key maritime companies overseen by MPA exceeded SGD 4.8 billion, up from SGD 4.3 billion in 2022. 25 maritime companies established or expanded their operations in Singapore last year. These include maritime services companies and companies setting up sustainability desks in Singapore as part of their decarbonisation strategy and growth plans.

MPA is working with industry, researchers and the investment community to grow the Marine Technology (MarineTech) ecosystem. The number of start-ups under Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @BLOCK71 (PIER71TM) has grown from 17 in 2018 when PIER71TM was launched, to 116 today – up from 99 in 2022. These start- ups have raised over SGD 68 million in investment since 2018. MPA will continue to work with its partners to reach the goal of 150 MarineTech start-ups in Singapore by 2025.

Singapore retained its lead as the world’s top maritime centre in the Xinhua- Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index for the 10th consecutive year in 2023. The Port of Singapore was also named best global seaport for the third straight year and best Asian seaport for the 35th time at the Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain Awards. 

Key Initiatives for a Future-ready Maritime Singapore

Accelerating Maritime Decarbonisation on Multiple Fronts

To date, Singapore has established four Green and Digital Shipping Corridors (GDSC) serving as valuable platforms for the piloting and trial of alternative fuels as well as digital solutions to support the transformation of the maritime sector

In April 2023, MPA established the GDSC with the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. In December 2023, two MoUs were signed to establish the Tianjin-Singapore GDSC and Japan-Singapore GDSC covering six Japanese ports.

To position Singapore as the maritime green finance hub to support the energy transition, MPA launched an Expression of Interest (EOI) in October last year, inviting financial institutions and intermediaries, as well as marine insurance providers and brokers, to submit proposals to accelerate the adoption of electric harbour craft in Singapore. The evaluation of the proposals is on-going.

New standards supporting vessel electrification, cybersecurity, and the use of new bunker fuels such as methanol and ammonia are under development. In 2022, MPA and the Energy Market Authority jointly issued an EOI for ammonia power generation and bunkering which attracted 26 proposals. The second selection phase is on-going.

Driving Digitalisation with Industry and Research Institutes

To boost the efficiency and transparency of bunkering delivery documentation and workflow in the Port of Singapore, MPA implemented the Digital Bunkering initiative in November 2023. 

To date, four solution providers have been approved by MPA, and three bunker suppliers and barge operators have commenced digital bunkering operations. More companies are expected to be on-boarded in the coming year. MPA will continue its efforts to gather feedback and drive early adoption. 

When fully implemented, digital bunkering is expected to save up to 40,000 man-hours annually.

Maritime drone services present significant opportunities for Maritime Singapore to improve the operational efficiency of port services and reduce carbon footprint. In 2023, MPA worked with multiple drone operators to deploy drones to enhance the situational awareness and incident management response capabilities in support of the methanol bunkering operation and annual Ferry Rescue Exercise (FEREX) in July and October 2023, respectively. MPA is also studying the development of a Fleet Traffic Management System to track maritime drone activities in our port waters and ensure the safety of our port users.

To deepen local R&D capabilities in smart ship development and green technologies, MPA and the Singapore Maritime Institute awarded a total of SGD 19.3 million in funding to universities and research institutes in 2023 for maritime R&D.

Maritime companies are also growing their technology presence in Singapore and moving into emerging areas and services. In 2023, the American Bureau of Shipping launched its Global Electrification Centre in Singapore to support marine electrification projects across the Asia-Pacific and around the world. thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen also set up their joint venture, Pelagus 3D, to provide digital manufacturing services to the maritime industry.

MPA is closely monitoring the current geopolitical situation around the world and its impact on key shipping routes and global supply chains. Should the supply chain disruptions be protracted, and ships’ schedules increasingly impacted, the Port of Singapore stands ready to assist ships to “catch up” on their schedules and to support shippers in their cargo connections.

MPA has also issued advisories to shipowners, managers, operators and masters of Singapore-flagged ships to review their ships’ security plans and implement necessary risk mitigating measures when trading in high-risk areas.

Note: The full Singapore maritime performance review of 2023 can be found here

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Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 15 January, 2024

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SMW 2024: Ken Energy and Green COP partner to advance bio bunker fuels in Singapore

Through partnership between its two members, CSA said SGD 10 million will be invested into development and production of biofuel blends and aims to launch commercial-scale production by 2026.





SMW 2024: Ken Energy and Green COP partner to advance bio bunker fuels in Singapore

The Coastal Sustainability Alliance (CSA), an industry collaborative effort led by Kuok Maritime Group (KMG), on Tuesday 916 April) announced its plans to advance the maritime biofuel ecosystem in Singapore with up to SGD 10 million (USD 7.33 million) in investments. 

The partnership will be spearheaded by two of its Alliance members – Green COP and Ken Energy – which formalised a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today at the Tech Stage (EXPO @SMW) at Singapore Maritime Week 2024.

Over the next two years, the CSA aims to develop stable B30, B40 and B50 biofuel blends and achieve production and commercial adoption of up to 50% (B50), derived from 50% agri-waste to Biobutanol – a blend poised to significantly reduce carbon emissions in maritime operations.

This process includes biofuel certification, commencing sea trials, building a production plant by 2025, and launching commercial-scale production by 2026. An initial SGD 500,000 angel investment has been secured for establishing a pilot plant for processing agri-waste, and over SGD 10 million is expected to be invested in scaling production capabilities.

These efforts in decarbonising the maritime sector will contribute to the CSA’s efforts to build the next generation of Singapore’s coastal ecosystem and are timely to address the potential surge in demand for sustainable biofuels.

Mr Tan Thai Yong, Managing Director, Strategic Projects and Technology, Kuok Maritime Group and Chairperson, CSA Council, said: “The formation of biofuel ecosystem under the Coastal Sustainability Alliance demonstrates our commitment to foster partnerships and deliver innovative sustainable maritime solutions for our conventional fleet owners as they progressively switch to lower emissions vessels.

“In bringing together Green COP and Ken Energy, we are laying the groundwork for a new biofuel supply chain and providing a viable alternative in the energy transition for the maritime sector. This initiative is more than an advancement in fuel technology as it exemplifies the power of collaboration, underscoring the CSA’s role as a steward and catalyst for positive change in the maritime industry.”

The CSA is actively driving maritime biofuel development to provide a viable biofuel alternative for vessels to reduce carbon emissions. The ecosystem will secure a ready supply of biofuel for local coastal demand and ensure the quality and stability of the biofuels with supply chain track and trace. This initiative also seeks to bolster Singapore’s standing in the Global Biofuels Alliance over the long term by building new R&D and innovation tracks in line with the nation’s environmental commitments.

Through this partnership, Ken Energy will play a pivotal role in strengthening the market and commercial utilisation of Biobutanol in maritime operations. This comprises vital aspects such as operational feasibility, life cycle assessment, and carbon emission reduction strategies. Ken Energy’s expertise and resources will be instrumental in optimising the practical implementation of Biobutanol for a B30-B50 blend and subsequent market integration in providing B50 to its customer fleet of bunker barges and CSA members.

Desmond Chong, Managing Director of Ken Energy, said: “We believe in the green transition that the maritime industry is embarking on. This conviction underscores our strategic collaboration with Green COP. Leveraging our proficiency in marine transportation logistics alongside Green COP's commendable sustainable biofuel production, we aim to spur the industry's widespread adoption of biofuels."

Green COP, with its proprietary technology, specialises in the efficient conversion of plant-based biowaste into sustainable biofuels through a patented pre-treatment and fermentation process. This innovative, cost-effective approach maximises resource utilisation and minimises waste generation, contributing to the circular economy and environmental sustainability.

Dr Hanson Lee, CEO of Green COP, said, “Green COP presents existing fleet owners with a coherent biofuel solution to achieve their net-zero targets in a progressive manner. We envision a future where Sustainable Marine Fuels (SMF), alongside coastal electrification, become the norm. The CSA has provided us access to market insights, industry collaborations and the necessary incubation for our growth. We look forward to working with more like-minded partners to spur biofuels research and adoption.”

Earlier in March 2024, Green COP signed an MOU agreement with 3Y Energy to develop and optimise green biofuel blends for the maritime and transportation sectors. Through this collaboration, Green COP will set up a pilot plant capable of processing a ton of biomass daily to produce sustainable fuels, while 3Y Energy will provide the innovative solutions in green fuel utilisation including biofuel blends. 

Introducing the B50 blend represents a significant advancement in reducing carbon emissions within the maritime industry. For every metric ton (mt) of B50 fuel burned, carbon emissions are reduced to 1.5 mt, a substantial improvement over the B30 blend, which reduces CO2 emissions to 2.1 mt per metric ton of fuel burned. Additionally, the production of Biobutanol, a key component of the B50 blend, is more energy-efficient and yields a higher volume of fuel compared to traditional methods used for producing Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME). This enhances the sustainability of the fuel production process and supports the maritime sector’s transition to greener energy sources.

The CSA will continue to broaden the scope of the pioneering biofuel ecosystem and seek additional collaborations from stakeholders across the maritime and energy sectors to enhance technological, adoption and logistical capabilities.

This development follows closely on the heels of the Coastal Sustainability Alliance PXO Electric Fleet Signing and MoU Ceremony, held on 12 April.

Related: Alliance commences building of electric tug and supply boat for Singapore waters
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister
Related: SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity
Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects


Photo credit: Coastal Sustainability Alliance
Published: 17 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

SMW 2024: Pacific Environment, Ulsan Port Authority to accelerate zero-emission shipping and ports

Both signed a MoU to develop zero-emission shipping and ports in South Korea, within Asia, across transpacific and global corridors including possibility of supporting Korea Ports to transition to green bunker fuels.





SMW 2024: Pacific Environment, Ulsan Port Authority mulls transition to green bunker fuels in South Korea

Pacific Environment on Tuesday (16 April) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ulsan Port Authority outlining a vision of multi-year collaboration to accelerate zero-emission shipping and ports in the Republic of Korea, within Asia, across transpacific and global corridors. 

The MOU Signing Ceremony occurred during a joint reception co-hosted by Pacific Environment and Ulsan Port Authority with more than 50 participants during the Singapore Maritime Week 2024.

The MOU includes areas of possible cooperation: 

  • Supporting the Republic of Korea to decarbonise both its domestic shipping and harbour craft industry to align all Republic of Korea ports with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1.5 degree Celsius trajectory
  • Support the Uslan Port to design and implement green shipping corridors across Asia, the transpacific and global corridors
  • Support the Ulsan Port and Republic of Korea Ports to transition to green fuels and provide electric power and zero-emission lifecycle fuels to help marine vessels meet zero-emissions prior to 2050 
  • Provide the Ulsan Port with an action plan to achieve the International Maritime Organization’s 2023 Greenhouse Gas Strategy 
  • Support the Ulsan Port to address additional marine and climate policy issues, such as ending ocean plastic pollution, fossil fuel shipping pollution, among others
  • Support improvement of the Ulsan Port and Republic of Korea Port’s system to prompt the use of green fuels, develop workforce safety standards and train workers.

This is the second MOU that Pacific Environment has signed with Republic of Korea maritime leaders. Last May 2023, Pacific Environment and Korean Maritime Institute signed a multiyear MOU to accelerate zero-emission shipping and ports. 

Soonyo Jeong, Vice President, Ulsan Port Authority, said: “We are excited about our partnership with Pacific Environment and look forward to the support the organisation can provide on-the-ground to move our port and our country to a zero-emission future.”

“As the largest bunkering port in the Republic of Korea, we hope to do our part to address climate change and move shipping to a 1.5 degree Celsius future.”

Shannon Wright, Executive Director, Pacific Environment, said: “Pacific Environment is proud to partner with the Port of Ulsan. Today’s signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Port of Ulsan and Pacific Environment is an exciting start to a multiyear partnership. 

“Ulsan Port has been designated as the only green ship fuel supply port in the Republic of Korea, and aims to become an green energy logistics hub.”

“We look forward to supporting the port with strategic policy and planning assistance to support the efforts towards zero-emission shipping and ports.”

Related: SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister
Related: SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity
Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects


Photo credit: Pacific Environment
Published: 17 April 2024

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SMW 2024: Seatrium, A*STAR to explore new energies and AI for offshore and marine uses

Both organisations will focus on establishing a sustainable ammonia supply chain and addressing bunkering, transportation, and storage challenges, amongst others.





SMW 2024: Seatrium, A*STAR to explore new energies and AI for offshore and marine uses

Singapore-headquartered marine engineering firm Seatrium and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) on Tuesday (16 April) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore research opportunities in new energies and artificial intelligence (AI) to develop innovative products and engineering solutions for the Offshore and Marine (O&M) Sector. 

The MoU signing took place during the Singapore Maritime Week and was witnessed by the event’s Guest of Honour, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

The collaboration combines Seatrium’s insights into trends and opportunities within the O&M sector with the research capabilities of A*STAR and its National Platforms such as the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS). The parties aim to boost the O&M sector’s pivot to new energies efficiently and reliably, and support the global transition to a low-carbon economy. Through machine learning, manufacturing process technologies and digital solutions, the collaboration will also streamline product development and manufacturing processes, and promote innovation and sustainability in Seatrium’s operations.

The focus areas of the MoU include the co-development of:

New Energies

This includes the exploration of new energies such as hydrogen and ammonia solutions, specifically tailored for offshore and marine applications. A*STAR and Seatrium were part of Singapore’s first ammonia fuel trial on the Fortescue Green Pioneer. 

A*STAR contributed to the development of an ammonia plume model for safety and environmental impact assessment, while Seatrium was responsible for the installation of the vessel’s fuel system and safety features.

Both organisations will now focus on establishing a sustainable ammonia supply chain and addressing bunkering, transportation, and storage challenges. Coupled with carbon capture technologies, Seatrium's suite of product solutions aims to provide sustainable energy solutions for the offshore and marine sector.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The partnership leverages AI to explore innovative solutions in engineering processes, operational efficiency, and decision-making across project lifecycles. 

This includes the planned development of Large Language Models (LLMs) to improve vessel design and validation turnaround by automating and streamlining parts of the process. AI will be used to automate work site inspection and surveillance for improved operational efficiency.

Since 2008, Seatrium’s predecessor entities and A*STAR have worked on research projects such as green shipping, digital design, automation, Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced manufacturing. 

The outcomes have culminated in the development of new capabilities, including co-designing the world’s first made-in-Singapore Low Ultraviolet (LUV) Ballast Water Treatment System. 

This eco-friendly system employs energy-efficient ultra-violet rays and proprietary ultra-low frequency bio-fouling control for chemical-free treatment of ballast water.

Mr Chris Ong, CEO of Seatrium, said: “The collaborative efforts between Seatrium and A*STAR are geared towards accelerating the energy transition and maritime decarbonisation.”

“By combining our knowledge and pushing boundaries, we aim to develop advanced energy solutions that will help the industry adopt renewable sources more quickly.”

“Through innovation, research, and sustainable practices, we are focused on minimising carbon emissions, improving operational efficiency, and promoting cleaner energy.”

“We are committed to making a positive impact and playing a vital role in Singapore's sustainable O&M sector with the support of our partners, stakeholders, and customers.”

Mr Frederick Chew, CEO of A*STAR, said: “Building on our previous successful collaboration programmes in green shipping, digital design and advanced manufacturing, this latest collaboration in new energies and AI furthers Seatrium and A*STAR’s shared vision of developing more smart and sustainable solutions for the O&M sector.”

“I look forward to programme outcomes that will contribute substantively to Seatrium’s and Singapore’s economic and sustainability goals.”

Related: Fortescue successfully conducts world’s first ammonia bunker fuel trial in Singapore
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister
Related: SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity
Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects


Photo credit: Seatrium and A*STAR
Published: 17 April 2024

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