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Alternative Fuels

Singapore bunker volume down by 4.3% on year but biofuel sales surpasses LNG

Bunker sales in 2022 included about 140,000 tonnes of biofuel blends over more than 90 biofuel bunkering operations, surpassing the 16,000 tonnes in LNG bunker sales.




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While total volume declined by 4.3% year-on-year in Singapore, bunker sales in 2022 included about 140,000 tonnes of biofuel blends over more than 90 biofuel bunkering operations, surpassing the 16,000 tonnes in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunker sales.

This was one of the main highlights in a speech by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, who was the Guest-of-Honour at the annual Singapore Maritime Foundation New Year Conversations event on Friday (13 January). He spoke on the developments and 2022 performance of Maritime Singapore.

He said Singapore remained a favoured location for bunkers and has made progress in supplying alternative fuels, such as biofuels, to support maritime decarbonisation. A total of 47.9 million tonnes of bunker sales was registered in 2022.

Mr Chee added MPA has also developed a framework for licensed bunker suppliers to supply biofuel to vessels within the Port of Singapore. 

“A provisional standard for marine biofuel specifications, for blends of up to B50, was developed in consultation with industry and researchers to support trials by the maritime community on carbon emissions reduction potentials of biofuels. Currently, commercial sales of biofuel blends of up to B24 are available for the maritime sector in Singapore,” he said.

“In December 2022, MPA and the Energy Market Authority also launched an Expression of Interest (EOI), calling for proposals to build, own and operate low or zero-carbon ammonia power generation and bunkering solutions in Jurong Island. The EOI is open until end April 2023.”

Growing our International Maritime Centre and MarineTech Ecosystem

As a leading International Maritime Centre, Maritime Singapore is home to a diverse range of maritime businesses, with more than 170 international shipping groups as well as other maritime players in the areas of finance, insurance, cybersecurity, shipbroking, law and arbitration. Despite global inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions, our International Maritime Centre has expanded steadily in 2022. 

Last year, total business spending by shipping companies exceeded S$4.3 billion, and more than 30 companies established or expanded their operations in Singapore, supported under programmes by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). This is more than 30% higher than the number of companies which expanded operations or set up in Singapore in 2021.

Singapore was also recognised as the top international maritime city in the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index and Menon Economics-DNV’s Leading Maritime Cities of the World report. 

 MPA is working with the industry, research, and the investment community to grow our 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 close to 100 today. These start-ups have raised overS$50 million in investment in the past four years, and four start-ups have also expanded their technology solutions abroad. MPA will continue to work with our partners to reach the goal of 150 MarineTech start-ups in Singapore by 2025.

Container, Cargo Throughput and Vessel Arrival Tonnage in 2022

The Port of Singapore is essential to Singapore’s connectivity and trade with the rest of the world. In 2022, Singapore’s position as a trusted, global transshipment hub was strengthened amidst challenging global economic conditions. The Port of Singapore remained resilient compared to the decline in global container trade of about 3 to 4% in 2022. Despite the global slowdown in production and consumption, Singapore’s container throughput in 2022 reached 37.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), the second-highest throughput on record, and a slight decline of 0.7% from the record throughput of 37.6 million TEUs in 2021. A total of 577.7 million tonnes of cargo in 2022 was handled. Vessel arrival tonnage hit 2.83 billion Gross Tonnage (GT).

Singapore Registry of Ships among Top Registries

The Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) continues to rank as one of the top five largest ship registries globally, with a high-quality fleet. The total tonnage of ships under the Singapore flag in 2022 was close to 96 million GT, about a 4% increase from 2021. In 2022, 25 Singapore-flagged ships from 13 companies received Green Ship certificates under the Green Ship Programme. 

Since 2011, over 650 ships have been recognised under the programme, which will continue to evolve to support the decarbonisation of the maritime sector. The SRS expects to see a steady rise in green fleet, given Maritime Singapore’s continued efforts to attract green ships into the SRS through co-developing standards and pilots with research institutes and classification societies. 

Details of Singapore’s port performance for the last ten years, from 2013 to 2022, are listed in Annex A

Singapore’s International and Regional Efforts 

MPA continues to champion issues globally through active engagement and multi-stakeholder collaboration with international organisations, including the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities, the International Hydrographic Organization and the International Mobile Satellite Organization. 

In December 2022, Singapore’s Tan Hanqiang was appointed Vice-Chair of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee which will review the greenhouse gas emission reduction pathways and strategies at the IMO. The appointment is a testament to Singapore’s long-standing efforts to bring parties together for consensus-building at the international level.  

Singapore is also working with countries, research and industry stakeholders to develop Green and Digital Shipping Corridors (GDSC), which serve as valuable testbeds to trial new technologies and fuels in a sandbox environment, gain operational and safety experience, optimise route planning, prior to scaling up for wider adoption. To-date, Singapore has announced a GDSC collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam to establish the world’s longest green and digital shipping corridor, and is working with the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, and C40 Cities towards a corridor between Singapore and the San Pedro Bay port complex.  

The Next Bound of Growth for Maritime Singapore 

Maritime Singapore will capture new opportunities and drive further growth through continued investments in capability-building, talent development and innovation, and anchored by strong tripartite partnerships.


Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 16 January, 2023

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TotalEnergies Marine Fuels renews ISCC EU certification for bio bunker fuel  

Firm’s operations teams in Singapore and Geneva successfully renewed its ISCC EU sustainability certification for the supply of biofuel bunkers, says Louise Tricoire, Vice President.





TotalEnergies Marine Fuels renews ISCC EU certification for bio bunker fuel

Louise Tricoire, Vice President of TotalEnergies Marine Fuels recently said the firm’s operations teams in Singapore and Geneva successfully renewed its International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) EU sustainability certification for the supply of biofuel bunkers.

“This means that TotalEnergies Marine Fuels can continue sourcing and supplying marine biofuels in accordance with EU renewable energy regulations ensuring the highest sustainability standards,” she said in a social media. 

“It's the third year in a row that we have successfully renewed this certification, after a deep and comprehensive audit which showed zero non-conformity.”

She added marine biofuels have grown in demand among shipping companies that want to cut greenhouse gas emissions immediately. 

“TotalEnergies Marine Fuels offers marine biofuels commercially in Singapore and we are starting in Europe. This certification enables us to accompany our customers in their decarbonisation journey with the best standard solutions available today.”

Photo credit: TotalEnergies Marine Fuels
Published: 29 September, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

Seapath, Pilot LNG launch JV to develop dedicated LNG bunkering facility in US Gulf Coast

With operations beginning in early 2026, the construction of the new facility will provide bunker fuel for LNG-powered vessels in the greater Houston/ Galveston area of Texas.





Seapath, Pilot LNG launch JV to develop dedicated LNG bunkering facility in US Gulf Coast

Seapath, a maritime subsidiary of Libra Group, and Pilot LNG, LLC (Pilot), a leading Houston-based clean energy solutions company, on Thursday (28 September) announced that they have formed a joint venture (JV) to develop, construct, and operate the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering facility in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

With operations beginning in early 2026, the construction of the new facility will provide bunker fuel for LNG-powered vessels in the greater Houston/ Galveston area of Texas.

The project, which will be developed with an initial investment of approximately USD 150 million, meets the needs of a vital global and U.S. trade corridor. According to the Greater Houston Partnership, the Greater Houston waterways generated over USD 906 billion in economic value to the U.S. in 2022. 

In addition, a 2023 U.S. Department of Transportation report recognised the Greater Houston area as the top US port by tonnage.

While LNG bunkering infrastructure has been developing overseas, U.S. infrastructure supporting its uptake has developed slower. Pilot and Seapath’s LNG bunkering facility will use their combined expertise to serve essential U.S. Gulf Coast port complexes, including servicing major cruise lines and container vessel operators.

Led by LNG industry veterans with extensive experience on the terminal and marine side, Pilot LNG is committed to delivering LNG to new and existing U.S. markets, including fuel/bunkering terminals and related infrastructure. This is the first in a series of strategic investments by Seapath and Pilot to create a network of LNG facilities in areas of unmet need in the U.S.

“Seapath is dedicated to investing across the marine infrastructure space and will provide strong financial backing to Pilot’s LNG bunker projects,” said Jonathan Cook, CEO of Pilot. 

“We look forward to working closely with Seapath to support the gradual decarbonization of the marine industry. We look forward to delivering a U.S. Gulf Coast facility in a timely manner based on the extensive development work already completed to meet the significant needs for LNG fuel, which also supports ongoing decarbonization across the industry.”

A U.S. company led by Merchant Mariners and former service members, Seapath was formed recognizing the need for critical investments in the U.S. maritime economy. The company plans to continue investing in innovative projects within maritime connectivity, industrial technologies, port real estate, and Jones Act vessels.

“The infrastructure under development will provide LNG to a growing market seeking cleaner marine fuel, particularly as customers look for economical ways to comply with tightening emissions regulations, including regulations set by the IMO in 2020,” said Seapath CEO Greg Otto.  

“We are pleased to be working with a first-class team in Pilot LNG and with some of the leading ports in the United States to bring this critical LNG bunkering infrastructure to the Gulf Coast region where there is high demand for it. Thanks to our valuable partnership with Pilot, we look forward to developing more of these much-needed facilities in ports across the United States.”

Seapath is one of 30 operational entities of Libra Group, a privately owned business group whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in nearly 60 countries with six business sectors, including maritime and renewable energy. The Group’s three maritime subsidiaries include Lomar Shipping, a global shipping company with a fleet of more than 40 vessels, and Americraft Marine, which owns and operates a Jones Act Shipyard in Palatka, Florida. Significantly, the shipyard is among the few in the U.S. to construct crew transfer vessels to service the growing offshore-wind industry and traditional inland-marine assets such as tugboats and barges.

“Libra Group is committed to advancing innovation across our sectors, from maritime to aerospace, to renewable energy and more. As a global organization, we will harness insights from across our network to bolster the uptake of more sustainable technologies to advance our sectors while identifying potential applications across our other sectors,” said Manos Kouligkas, CEO of Libra Group.

“Adoption of more sustainable fuels is critical to future-proofing our industries against a rapidly changing ecosystem. We will continue to support the transition to greener energy solutions, and we look forward to following Seapath’s work to evolve the U.S. maritime industrial sector.”

Pilot and Seapath will continue with all front-end engineering and design development for their projects in the third and fourth quarters of 2023 to file applications with the necessary federal and state agencies to permit, site, construct and operate the small-scale LNG terminal for marine fuel. Pilot and Seapath anticipate announcing details of their project investment by the second half of 2024.

Photo credit: Libra Group
Published: 29 September, 2023

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Bureau Veritas on biofuels: The transitional bunker fuel of today? 

BV published an article stating that biofuels are a promising turnkey transitional fuel but outlined practical and technical issues that shipping companies should consider.





Bureau Veritas on biofuels: The transitional bunker fuel of today?

Classification society Bureau Veritas on Thursday (28 September) published an article stating that biofuels is a promising turnkey transitional bunker fuel but outlined practical and technical issues that shipping companies should consider: 

The race is on to transition to low-carbon alternative fuels and biofuels are gaining momentum. But what are they? Biofuels are gaseous or liquid fuels produced from biomass – organic matter of biological and non-fossil origin. Easily adaptable to existing vessels, biofuels are a promising turnkey transitional fuel. Let’s dive deeper to examine this promise.


Biofuels can be broadly categorized into three generations, some of which are ready for use in shipping, and others still maturing:

  • First generation, or conventional biofuels, are generated using agricultural crops, vegetable oil or food waste. These are the most commonly used biofuels worldwide.
  • Second generation, or advanced biofuels, are produced from- non-food biomass feedstocks like residual feedstocks from forestry or crops. They could have fewer negative environmental impacts relating to land use and food production.
  • Third generation biofuels are a future generation of biofuels currently needing further development, produced from algae and microbes.

Currently, first-generation biofuels are the most widely available. However, their scalability is constrained by the origin of their feedstock, which is food-purposed crops and thus entails direct and indirect land-use changes.

Second-generation biofuels, produced from non-food feedstocks such as forest biomass and agricultural crops, are free of some constraints associated with first-generation biofuels. Their role in decarbonizing shipping will likely be crucial. However, it will require a sharp uptake in supply, which inherently requires significant investments.


Yes, they absolutely do! The way a biofuel is produced and the feedstock used are key when analyzing a biofuel’s lifecycle GHG emissions. They therefore have an impact on determining whether they can be considered as low-carbon fuel. There is currently no globally accepted standard or certification in place to ensure the end-to-end sustainable production of biofuels. First generation biofuels, for example, are carbon neutral on paper. But, this claim becomes far more complex from a well-to-wake perspective and when considering more holistic sustainability criteria.

What other kind of ramifications might biofuel production entail? For one, the land needed for production is already in high demand to expand croplands around the world. This puts first-generation biofuel production and food markets in competition with each other – not an easy battle to win. From an ethical standpoint, most would prioritize meeting global food demand over fueling ships.


When it comes to biofuel use there are two broad categories of considerations for shipping companies: the practical and the technical.


Thus far, as with many fuels, it is difficult to predict the exact future prices of biofuels. Blending biofuels with fossil fuels can reduce the overall energy content which means more fuel is needed to maintain performance. Besides, maintenance may have to be adapted in cooperation with OEMs depending on which biofuels and blends are used. The latter can lead to additional OPEX costs that shipping companies will need to shoulder.

Another crucial factor is availability. At current production rates biofuels are unlikely to be able to meet a large proportion of global maritime demand. Competition with other sectors, such as land-based transportation, may compound concerns surrounding availability. This factor is not, however, specific to biofuels – availability remains a challenge for several other potential marine fuels.

The practical disadvantage of biofuels is a question of supply – particularly for the more ecological second- and third-generations. Theoretically, these later second generation biofuels could become a flexible and sustainable refueling option. Their required feedstocks are available worldwide, and port infrastructure should not require significant adaptations to accommodate them. Practically, however, they need to be produced at much greater scale.


One of the major advantages of biofuels is the maturity of compatible engines. Vessels typically require no modification to use biofuels, making them a “drop in” replacement for conventional marine fuels. This sets biofuels apart from the majority of alternative fuels – including hydrogen, ammonia and LNG – which require specific engines or fuel storage and supply systems.

Characteristically speaking, biofuels are similar to standard fuel oil. This means minimal investment would be needed to meet evolving regulations and ensure crew safety onboard.


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is now developing guidelines for the life cycle GHG analysis of marine fuels, which is expected to be the cornerstone when considering the emissions reduction potential of marine biofuels.

Specific biofuel regulations may still be in the early stages, but ship operators are adapting their fleets now to comply with IMO emissions regulations. Biofuels may be part of the solution to reducing emissions and meeting compliance requirements. With a sustainable production pathway, biofuels promise significant carbon emissions reductions compared to standard fossil fuels.

Biofuels also appear to be in line with NOx (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide) emission limits. The challenge, however, comes in proving compliance. This may require onboard emission testing or engine and fuel-specific NOx emissions validation testing. However, the IMO regulations now consider blends of 30% biofuel or less in the same way as traditional oil-based bunkers.


To help the industry prepare for the use of biofuels or biofuel blends, Bureau Veritas created its BIOFUEL READY notation. It provides a set of requirements and comprehensive guidelines for the necessary documentation and testing. Suitable for new and existing ships, BIOFUEL READY is one example of how we leverage our transversal expertise to support the maritime industry’s decarbonization journey and safely progress innovative solutions. This includes assessing NOx emissions, which remain at the forefront of current regulatory compliance.

Photo credit: Bureau Veritas
Published: 29 September, 2023

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