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Singapore, LA and Long Beach unveil Partnership Strategy for Pacific Ocean green and digital shipping corridor

Ports and C40 have commissioned a study to analyse trade flows and vessel traffic between the three locations as well as estimate quantity of near-zero/zero-emission bunker fuels required for this traffic.

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Singapore, LA and Long Beach unveils Partnership Strategy for Pacific Ocean green and digital shipping corridor

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and Port of Long Beach (POLB) on Wednesday (6 December) unveiled a Partnership Strategy for a green and digital shipping corridor (GDSC) across the Pacific Ocean at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The release of the Partnership Strategy follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by MPA, POLA and POLB during Singapore Maritime Week in April 2023. The MoU formalised the partnership, which is supported by C40 Cities, with the aim of establishing a GDSC connecting the three global hub ports.

The scope of cooperation through the Partnership Strategy and success indicators specified within build upon the MoU signed in April 2023 and reaffirm the corridor partners’ commitment to drive global action to digitalise and decarbonise the shipping industry and improve efficiencies.

The GDSC Strategy outlines steps to accelerate decarbonisation of the maritime shipping industry by enabling first mover organisations to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the earliest feasible date, in support of the goals defined by the 2023 International Maritime Organization’s Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships. The ports and C40 will work together and with value-chain stakeholders from the fuel and maritime sectors to:

● Coordinate decarbonisation efforts: GDSC partners will help to catalyse and coordinate efforts to enable ships calling at the Port of Singapore, Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the earliest feasible date. 

● Build consensus on green shipping best practices: GDSC partners will seek to establish consensus around green shipping best practices and standards.

● Improve access to and adoption of technology and digital solutions: To enhance supply chain efficiency, resilience and decarbonisation while reducing costs and improving reliability, GDSC partners will work to develop and deploy innovative technology and digital solutions.

● Leverage networks: GDSC partners will work with stakeholders involved in other green shipping initiatives, including those established by the three ports and other parties, to scale the uptake of zero and near-zero emission technologies, fuels and energy sources.

To achieve these aims, a partnership structure and governance mechanism have been developed to provide clarity on the roles and responsibilities of GDSC partners. The strategy also outlines processes for onboarding new participants, financial management, confidentiality and decision-making.

As next steps, the ports and C40 have commissioned a study to analyse trade flows and vessel traffic between Singapore, Los Angeles and Long Beach. The study will estimate the quantity of near-zero and zero-emission fuels required for this traffic, and guide implementation by identifying opportunities for collaboration to advance the development of the GDSC.

The founding partners will now engage stakeholders from across the shipping and fuel supply value chains that share the GDSC's vision and aims, with the intention of onboarding new corridor participants in 2024. 

Mr Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive of MPA, said: “We are excited to see this partnership grow from strength to strength with the Green and Digital Shipping Corridor Partnership Strategy. We have embarked on evaluating the various digital solutions and zero and near-zero fuels options that could be trialled along the route between Singapore and the San Pedro Bay Port Complex. We look forward to the support of all the corridor stakeholders over the coming months to conduct trials and potentially scale them for wider adoption.”

"This Partnership Strategy document is the foundation upon which we'll build the future of maritime shipping,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “Our success requires the resolve and dedication of the three partnering ports as well as our industry partners. Together, we will model the collaboration necessary to achieve our climate and efficiency goals." 

“Over the last two decades, we've learned that collaboration between maritime industry partners is the key to making meaningful progress in reducing emissions and cleaning the air,”Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero said. “This trans-Pacific green shipping corridor takes this concept global. The strategies we develop here can be used as a roadmap by a larger network of seaports and supply chain companies to invest in programs, technologies, software and infrastructure to decarbonize international trade everywhere.”

C40 Executive Director Mark Watts, said: "C40 is proud to support our port partners in delivering this Partnership Strategy. The advancement of this Green and Digital Shipping Corridor brings the shipping sector one step closer to a 1.5°C-aligned trajectory. Green shipping is only achievable through collaboration because no one stakeholder can afford to move unless they know others are likely to follow. That’s where C40 is delighted to help, bringing our network of world-leading cities, which include most of the world’s largest and most forward-looking ports."

Note: The Partnership Strategy document can be viewed here

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 7 December, 2023

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Shipping Corridor

NatPower Marine, Peel Ports Group plan first Ireland-UK green shipping corridor

Proposed project would see NatPower Marine develop the UK’s first e-ship charging network to support electric propulsion and cold ironing, as part of a global network.

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NatPower Marine and Peel Ports Group, a major UK port operator, recently announced plans to establish the first “green shipping corridors” between Ireland and the UK.

The proposed project would see NatPower Marine develop the UK’s first commercial electric ship (e-ship) charging network to support electric propulsion and cold ironing (the process of accessing clean power while docked to avoid significant engine pollution while at the port), as part of a global network.

The network – which would require an estimated GBP 100 million (USD 128 million) investment from NatPower Marine – would see this dedicated e-ship charging infrastructure delivered across all eight UK and Irish ports operated by Peel Ports Group. The master plan would also include electric car, van and HGV chargers installed for commercial electric vehicles passing through the ports.

Over 3,000 vessels cross the Irish Sea every year, emitting 230,000 tonnes of CO2, 20,000 tonnes of nitrous oxide (NOx), and 18,000 of sulphur oxide (SOx). Connecting these to onshore electric charging when in port could dramatically reduce these emissions, supporting climate goals and improving local air quality.

The first Irish Sea routes identified in the proposals include Belfast-Heysham and DublinBirkenhead. This would support Peel Port Group’s ambitions for Heysham Port in Lancashire to become the UK’s first ‘net zero port’. The port has already slashed the emissions of its landside plant, equipment and vehicles by up to 90%.

The plans mark the first step in a new GBP 3 billion global charging network, planned by NatPower Marine for 120 port locations worldwide by 2030. NatPower Marine will develop the sites, in partnership with port operators, and act as the long-term operator of the global charging network.

Stefano Sommadossi, CEO at NatPower Marine, said: “NatPower Marine is investing to deploy the largest global network of charging points to help solve the ‘chicken and egg conundrum’ facing this industry: shipping lines cannot electrify their vessels if port charging infrastructure is not available, and ports are unable to raise capital for charging infrastructure without certainty of demand from shipping lines.

“With marine trade set to triple by 2050, we urgently need to build the global network of clean energy charging infrastructure the industry desperately needs. Our partnership with Peel Ports Group is the first step in this strategic approach to accelerate the adoption of clean energy in shipping and help cargo owners to reach net-zero.” 

Claudio Veritiero, CEO at Peel Ports Group, said: “The proposals presented as part of this partnership are potentially game-changing, and fully support our ambitions to become a net-zero port operator by 2040.”

“We look forward to working closely with NatPower Marine to explore the possibilities for establishing the first green shipping corridor between the UK and Ireland, and further enabling support for our customers, shipping lines and hauliers as they transition to a greener future.”

 

Photo credit: CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Published: 28 May 2024

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Global Maritime Forum: Will greenwashing claims target green corridors next?

Katrina Abhold of GMF says although crackdown on greenwashing is welcomed, she cautioned that the wave of these litigations do not impede the broader goals of green shipping corridors.

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Global Maritime Forum: Will greenwashing claims target green corridors next?

Katrina Abhold, Senior Project Manager, Decarbonisation at Global Maritime Forum, on Wednesday (15 May) shared an article on her social media cautioning that recent flurry of greenwashing allegations have led to rising concerns within the maritime industry and those active in green shipping corridors. 

She said the greenwashing claims can act as a double-edged sword, both dissuading companies from making public commitments but also helping to improve transparency in an area not well known: 

Climate litigation. On the face of it, these two words together seem to show just how far we’ve come as a society in our quest to save the planet from our own follies. Now, in conjunction with fighting great social injustices like gender and race discrimination, progressive countries have allowed their judiciary systems to take on environmental injustices as well.

Make no mistake, however; such climate-related lawsuits are not a new turn of events. I dare say that Erin Brockovich herself would take offense to such a claim. For decades environmental groups and organizations like Greenpeace have waged legal battles in multiple countries to defend and protect our Earth’s biodiverse ecosystems. What’s new is that these lawsuits are moving away from allegations focusing on activities that pollute or disturb environmental areas — think dumping waste into oceans or emitting toxic chemicals into the air — towards allegations of inactivity where companies and governments fail to uphold their sustainability commitments.

To this end, the past few months have seen a series of triumphant headlines boasting various courts cracking down on “greenwashing”, wherein a business claims that its product or services are better or less harmful for the environment than they really are or omits key information about their environmental impact.

In January, the European Parliament passed a new so-called “Green Claims Directive” that requires companies to provide evidence for any voluntary green claims they make in consumer products. Just this March, the European Court of Human Rights held Switzerland at fault for violating the human rights of its citizens by failing to adequately combat climate change. The publicity around such cases is even making it into leading newspapers like the New York Times and Financial Times. The message is clear: if you want to talk the talk, you better walk the walk.

While environmental groups are quick to celebrate these historic wins, those of us working at the interface with industry see another side to climate litigation. In the maritime industry, there are rising concerns that green shipping corridors will be the next target of greenwashing allegations.

For those unaware, green shipping corridors are collaborative initiatives along specific trade routes that seek to promote the feasibility of zero-emission shipping. Like many other industries thrust under the microscope of environmental scrutiny, the maritime industry is actively seeking decarbonization solutions to reduce its emissions. Not least because the International Maritime Organization, the UN body that regulates international shipping, clearly indicated in its Revised Greenhouse Gas Strategy the goalposts towards which the industry must move (i.e. net-zero emissions by or around 2050. With such ambition, green shipping corridors are seen as a key means to support the maritime industry’s transition to adopting more sustainable fuels and testing emerging technologies and practices.

At this point, you may be asking, “Well, what’s the problem?” If these companies back up their sustainability claims, there’s no issue… right? Well, yes and no. As with most things in life, the answer is more complicated and has much to do with the nature of green corridor collaborations.

Long Timelines

At present, there are no green corridors in operation. This is no surprise to many in the industry, as green corridors only became a common concept in the past few years. Over this time, green corridor initiatives have bloomed to a current total of 44, with new initiatives being announced sporadically across the globe. That said, the majority of corridor initiatives are at a “pre-feasibility” level where stakeholders look into possible options to decarbonize operations along specific routes. Indeed, the usefulness of these early stages is to support general awareness-raising of shared challenges and knowledge dissemination while focusing on a concrete case.

Most of these corridors won’t be operational for years to come, with some ambitious ones aiming to see zero-emission ships on the water by 2027 at the earliest. This is due to various reasons, many of which can be attributed to the scale of these projects, the need for inter-country collaboration along the route, as well as uncertainties in fuel supply, international regulations, and certifications. However, the lack of quick, visible movement can make some question the progress these initiatives are making and whether they are true to their objectives of reducing climate emissions.

Complex Collaboration

One must also consider that the maritime industry is seeing unprecedented levels of cross-value chain collaboration, but that doesn’t immediately ease long-held traditions of competitive behavior. Simply getting actors around the same table can be difficult, with multiple rounds of legal checks and assurances of confidentiality before making any type of public announcement of intent to collaborate.

Even with such assurances, for these initiatives to move forward, a certain level of data sharing is required. This includes potentially commercially sensitive information regarding company operations, such as number of shipments, types of cargo, fuel consumption, bunkering locations, expected market trends, and investments into new vessels. When a corridor has one or more competitive players in the mix, these conversations can get bogged down unless a trusted third-party acts as an intermediary to aggregate and anonymize data. Add in the fact that the maritime industry is not known for its transparency and often shies away from publicly sharing progress or lessons learned from its endeavors and, well, it’s easy to see how some can view them merely as paper initiatives.

Misaligned Expectations

Another reason green corridors could be viewed as greenwashing is due to misaligned expectations on what is considered progress. Like with most projects, green corridors start with a concept that needs validation, then a review of financial and economic feasibility, followed by securing necessary permits and approvals, before a final investment decision — the “go / no-go” point.

Depending on the type of corridor as well, there may be a series of final investment decisions that need to be in place to make the corridor a reality: upgrades to port bunkering and storage infrastructure, building a renewable energy plant, establishing a green fuel processing facility, and ordering zero-emission vessels, to name a few. This makes these endeavors challenging and very expensive, with many struggling to prove their financial and economic feasibility without some form of external support.

Unlike announcements of new green hydrogen projects, wherein it’s widely acknowledged that only a fraction of them will actually come to fruition, green corridors are somehow viewed differently. If public expectations hold such initiatives to higher standards, without seeing them as exploratory projects that may fail to achieve implementation, then claims of greenwashing may yet follow.

While it’s possible some companies have jumped on the green corridor bandwagon to take advantage of current trends, many within the industry have dedicated time and resources to better understanding how they can sustainably transition in the years to come. The recent flurry of greenwashing allegations have led to rising concerns within the maritime industry and those active in green shipping corridors. Will they become the next target?

Such rumblings are already seeing consequences in maritime collaborations. The mere fear of having the greenwashing finger pointed at their company will lead to a reluctance of industry members to go on the record, support or endorse messages, and back engagements either in person or via branding. This is exemplified in the recent rollback of climate ambitions by both TUI Cruises and AIDA after their public claims towards decarbonization were criticized. Should such hesitation by the industry continue, there could be further negative implications as fewer companies engage in sustainability-oriented collaborations or use their voice to speak out to government and public officials.

Green corridors are in their infancy and need time to mature, test, validate, and find support. They are complex initiatives that depend on multiple maritime actors — ports, shipping companies, fuel suppliers, governments, and financiers — to come together and align on actions to support shipping’s decarbonization. They represent one of the few means by which the maritime industry can come together in a non-competitive forum to collaborate on decarbonization challenges in a practical manner and accelerate the sector’s energy transition.

Whether greenwashing claims will target green corridors next, no one can be certain. But two things we do know. The first is that though the crackdown on greenwashing is heartily welcomed - a word of caution is also needed to ensure that the wave of these litigations do not prove counterproductive to or impede the broader goals of green shipping corridors. The second is that maritime actors involved in these initiatives can take heed now to mitigate the likelihood of such claims occurring. Improving the transparency of such initiatives by communicating realistic timelines, highlighting challenges, and acknowledging where progress is being made or stalled can help alleviate concerns that these initiatives are all talk and no walk.

Photo credit: Global Maritime Forum
Published: 16 May 2024

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SMW 2024: New Singapore, LA, Long Beach study reveal future demand for green bunker fuels on shipping corridor

Shipping demand along Green and Digital Shipping Corridor between the nations is estimated to be around 850,000 mt of methanol and 160,000 mt of ammonia annually by 2030.

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SMW 2024: Singapore, LA, Long Beach reveal future demand for green bunker fuels on shipping corridor in new study

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach on Thursday (18 April) said they have completed a comprehensive baselining study, one year after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Green and Digital Shipping Corridor (GDSC).

It forecasts more green jobs, health improvements for local communities and economic benefits for participating countries, emphasising the future demand for zero and near-zero emission fuels and the benefits from decarbonising the shipping routes between the nations.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Vessels operating on the corridor represent 7% of the world’s container trade, which is about 1% of Singapore's, 14.5% of Port of Long Beach’s, and 20% of Port of Los Angeles’ traffic.
  • The projected annual energy demand of vessels on the corridor is estimated to be approximately 60,000 terajoules (TJ), equivalent to approximately two months of Singapore’s national electricity generation.
  • Shipping demand on the corridor is estimated to be around 850,000 metric tonnes (mt) of methanol and 160,000 mt of ammonia annually by 2030, displacing the equivalent GHG emissions from almost 320,000 cars annually.
  • The transition to zero and near-zero emission fuels could potentially create approximately 700 jobs in the production and supply chain of such fuels by 2030.

The study, commissioned by C40 and the ports, and conducted by the American Bureau of Shipping, analysed maritime trade flows between Singapore, Los Angeles and Long Beach, and provided a baseline of activities and energy demand requirements for vessels operating on the corridor through to 2050. 

The conclusion of the study follows the successful unveiling of the corridor’s Partnership Strategy at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28/CMP18/CMA5) in December 2023, which outlined the corridor’s goals, partnership structure and governance mechanism. 

The study estimates the quantity of near-zero and zero-emission fuels required for this traffic by modelling the adoption of zero and near-zero carbon alternative fuels by vessels operating on the corridor through to 2050, considering various parameters such as fuel production costs and fuel availability, and in view of the targets in the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships. 

The partnership convened the first in-person stakeholder meeting of the corridor together with industry value-chain representatives, as a prelude to onboarding stakeholders to the corridor. The meeting was held during Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2024 on 18 April.

The meeting and subsequent working groups will focus on developing green and digital solutions to address the following focus areas within the corridor:

  1. Enable the supply and adoption of zero and near-zero emissions fuels (e.g. green ammonia, green methanol) at scale, including safety, emergency response, mitigation and standards-setting.
  2. Develop and scale-up the adoption of energy efficiency solutions, including through digital tools (e.g. route optimisation, remote monitoring) and technologies that reduce fuel consumption (e.g. wind-assisted propulsion).
  3. Develop and encourage the adoption of digital technologies to support the monitoring, reporting and verification of GHG emissions along the corridor.

All three ports will participate in the Accelerating Digitalisation and Decarbonisation Conference organised by MPA as part of SMW 2024 and in a moderated discussion convened by C40 on the sidelines of SMW 2024 entitled ‘Navigating Collaboration: Governance of Green Shipping Corridor Partnerships’, where C40 will unveil its new report and share insights into best practices for GDSC effective governance.

Mr Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive of MPA, said: “Shipping is a new pillar in the multi-faceted partnership with the US. The GDSC with the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach highlights the importance of working with industry, researchers, government and society through innovation and capacity building. With traffic along the GDSC accounting for 7% of the world’s container trade, the initiatives by GDSC partners and stakeholders will help generate growth and new opportunities for maritime professionals.”

Note: The study titled An Initial Baselining Study to Support the Development of the Los Angeles/ Long Beach to Singapore Green and Digital Shipping Corridor can be found here.

Related: SMW 2023: Singapore, LA and Long Beach ink MoU to establish green and digital shipping corridor
Related: Singapore, LA and Long Beach unveil Partnership Strategy for Pacific Ocean green and digital shipping corridor

Other links related to SMW 2024: 

Related: SMW 2024: Ken Energy and Green COP partner to advance bio bunker fuels in Singapore
Related: SMW 2024: Seatrium, A*STAR to explore new energies and AI for offshore and marine uses
Related: SMW 2024: Pacific Environment, Ulsan Port Authority to accelerate 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: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 18 April 2024

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