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Singapore bunker tanker operators to rethink operations on MPA 2030 environmental deadline, says GCMD expert

23 Mar 2022

Singapore bunker tankers will likely be using a different type of marine fuel for supporting their operations about eight years from now when the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)’s environmental deadline of 2030 takes effect.

By 2030, MPA aims to reduce absolute emissions from the domestic harbour craft fleet by 15% from 2021 levels through the adoption of lower-carbon energy solutions such as blended biofuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG), diesel-electric hybrid propulsion, and full-electric propulsion.

Dr Sanjay C. Kuttan, Chief Technology Officer at the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD), recommends Singapore bunker tanker operators to evaluate the load profile of their vessels before deciding on which low carbon energy solution to choose.

“Though electrification will be the easiest route towards decarbonisation, bunker tanker operators need to be practical and consider how much cargo the vessel will transport, their operating speed and distance when delivering marine fuel to receiving ships,” he told Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times on the side lines of Asia Pacific Maritime (APM) 2022.

“Also, consideration will be need to be placed on the type of cargo carried and idle time for recharging before deciding on whether a hybrid or full electrical solution will be applicable. It really depends on the age, design and operating conditions of the bunker tanker – not forgetting commercial viability.

“If the age of their vessels restricts retrofitting decisions players can also explore implementing minimally a B15 blend of biofuel mixed with their current fuel consumption to meet MPA’s 2030 requirements.”

Shape Up or Ship Out by 2030

The Singapore bunkering sector will definitely be taking steps to comply with MPA’s environmental target by 2030, affirms Dr Kuttan.

“The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is responsible for overseeing developments made towards international shipping but harbourcraft specifically sits outside its control. Every state can set their targets for the transition to happen and in this case MPA has already set the limit for Singapore’s local shipping and bunkering sector,” he explains.

“Once the government places a compliance target it forces everyone to start rethinking what needs to be done. As such, local compliance is going to force everyone in the bunkering sector to either clean up or lose their license-to-operate.”

Furthermore, Dr Kuttan notes it will be a better decision for marine fuels players to remain relevant in the future green economy due to expected sustainability requirements from clients.

“Future market forces may dictate a scenario when clients start asking for accountability of the total carbon footprint for services rendered. If this is the case, players within the supply chain, including bunkering firms, may need to meet certain standards of a carbon audit or lose their clients,” he says.

“As such, it makes absolute sense for Maritime Singapore to secure an early seat within the green economy to establish itself as a key node within future green shipping corridors.”

Related: Priorities of maritime Singapore have ‘remained on-track’ despite COVID-19, says MPA
Related: Singapore making ‘significant efforts’ to build sustainable maritime hub, says Minister
Related: MPA blueprint prepares marine fuels sector for multi-fuel bunkering transition
Related: MPA: Singapore bunker tanker fleet expected to run on net zero fuels by 2050
Related: Singapore: MPA maritime decarbonisation blueprint sets target for bunkering sector


Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 23 March, 2022

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