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SMW 2024: Giving the harbour craft sector a leg up in maritime’s decarbonisation drive

‘We have to bring costs down. Financing can be a problem because new, sexy tech comes with a price,” says Mr Michael Phoon of Singapore Shipping Association in a panel discussion.




SMW 2024: Giving the harbour craft sector a leg up in maritime’s decarbonisation drive

The article ‘Giving the harbour craft sector a leg up in maritime’s decarbonisation drive’ was first published on Issue 4 of the Singapore Maritime Week 2024 Show Dallies; it has been reproduced in its entirety on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times with permission from The Nutgraf and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore:

Jaime Niam
[email protected] 

The harbour craft sector is set to go almost fully electric by 2030, but more can be done to ensure it does not get left behind in the shadows of larger ocean-going ships.

One key issue is costs, said panellists at a discussion on transforming the harbour craft sector on Wednesday.

“We have to bring costs down. Financing can be a problem because new, sexy tech comes with a price,” said Mr Michael Phoon, Executive Director of the Singapore Shipping Association, who moderated the panel.

While Ms Huang Sipei, Vice President of Sustainability at Institutional Banking Group, DBS Bank, acknowledged that financing new technology can be a challenge, she also said that the local environment is becoming increasingly hospitable, with DBS Bank being supportive of this green transition.

“Government schemes are helpful in sharing risks with banks and mitigating uncertainties,” she said. For example, homegrown integrated marine and offshore services provider Penguin International took up the Enterprise Financing Scheme-Green loan from DBS Bank and Enterprise Singapore to launch Singapore’s first all-electric commuter ferry, Penguin Refresh, to Pulau Bukom island.

But it is not simply about mitigating the cost of new technology. Because the harbour craft sector is highly fragmented, streamlining and consolidating its business operations – both seaward and landward – is also imperative in lowering costs and enhancing efficiency, said Mr Danny Lien, President of the Singapore Association of Shipsuppliers & Services. As of July 2023, there were about 1,600 harbour crafts plying the waters of the Port of Singapore, though they are owned by many diverse groups of operators.

“We are trying to create a more consolidated effort with Pyxis…Instead of a single company in this industry trying to solve this, we must synergise our resources together,” said Mr Tommy Phun, Founder of Pyxis, a tech start-up that is helping coastal vessels switch from diesel to electricity.

“Going forward, a role that will be extremely important is that of the port orchestrator,” added Mr Nakul Malhotra, Vice President (Emerging Opportunities Portfolio) of Wilhelmsen Group, referring to how the various activities and processes that happen within a port must be coordinated.

The multi-purpose Jurong Port is one good example. “People see (ports) as just infrastructure, but we have capabilities beyond just providing land,” said Mr Desmond Ong, Chief Digital Officer of Jurong Port.

“The data (from the digital platforms and operating systems we built) allows us to streamline the supply side and become more optimal…and industry players can leverage these data points.”

Singapore Maritime Week 2024 was organised by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore from 15 to 19 April. 

Related: Transport Minister launches Singapore’s first fully-electric ferry “Penguin Refresh”
Related: Homegrown start-up Pyxis unveils Singapore’s first electric port passenger launch


Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Article credit: The Nutgraf/ Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 25 April 2024

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Decarbonizing Asian shipping: The potential of Onboard Carbon Capture

DNV dives deep into the potential of Onboard Carbon Capture Storage particularly in Asia to coincide with the recent release of its latest whitepaper.






With the recent release of its latest whitepaper, classification society DNV sheds light on the potential of Onboard Carbon Capture Storage particularly in Asia, highlights the growing interest in it among shipowners and what needs to happen to encourage its wider adoption:

By Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria
VP, Regional Manager - South East Asia, Pacific & India, Maritime at DNV

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that to achieve the 1.5°C global warming limit set by the Paris Agreement, we need to capture 7.6 billion tons of CO2 annually by 2050. (Ref 1)

In its July 2023 update, the Global CCS Institute (GCCSI) mentioned that current Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects cover about 50 megatons of CO2 annually. This implies that from 2023 to 2050, CCS capacity must increase at least 100 times to capture the projected 7.6 billion tons of CO2. (Ref 2)

DNV sees strong potential for Onboard Carbon Capture Storage - or OCCS- an area it is actively engaged in with industry players to put to the test.

Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria

Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria, DNV

OCCS outlook in Asia

In its latest white paper about OCCS, DNV sets out to provide guidance to shipowners, technology providers, and other stakeholders on central matters related to OCCS. (Ref 3)

It makes it clear from the start that OCCS is key among all other efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping, in addition to improving energy efficiency and switching to carbon-neutral fuels.

Capturing the CO2 produced by carbon-based fuels and utilizing it, or storing it underground, is important for the maritime industry if it is to get anywhere near the IEA targets or meeting IMO goals for emissions reductions:  to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 20%, striving for 30%, by 2030, compared to 2008. (Ref 4)

One industry voice which updates us on CCS activities in Asia (as well as Europe) is Jasper Heikens, CCO at ECOLOG, a mid-stream CO2 service company.

He points out that one of the drivers to undertake CCS is that industries in Asia will need to adhere to the EU’s forthcoming Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) if they wish to sell their products into the EU.

Mr Heikens thinks Asia will emerge as the biggest CO2 shipping market, because Japan and Korea have very limited storage capacity and will need to transport their CO2 over greater distances than the EU to, for example, Malaysia, Indonesia, or Australia. (Ref 5)

In March this year, the Singapore based Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonization (GCMD) released its landmark study on offloading onboard captured carbon dioxide and identified low port readiness as key barrier to large-scale commercialisation:

  • Infrastructure and procedures for handling captured carbon dioxide (CO2) at ports are currently inadequate,
  • Defining clear pathways to offload, utilise, and/ or sequester CO2, is crucial for large-scale commercialisation of onboard carbon capture and storage.

Commenting in the report, Professor Lynn Loo, CEO of GCMD had this to say: “While pilots have successfully demonstrated numerous capture technologies onboard ships, it is still uncertain how captured carbon on merchant ships can be safely offloaded, and what the rest of the value chain looks like.” (Ref 6)

Growing interest among shipowners

With the regulatory landscape rapidly evolving, it will become increasingly important for shipowners to look ahead and embark on a decarbonization strategy that allows for regulatory compliance and optimized operations.

It is no wonder that in recent years, we have seen a growing number of shipowners across Asia entering into partnerships to explore the potential of OCCS.

DNV entered into a Joint Development Project (JDP) with AL Group and its Singapore company Asiatic Lloyd Maritime LLP in November 2023 to explore the feasibility of CCS on board AL’s 7,100TEU containership and Kamsarmax bulk carrier newbuildings. (Ref 7)

Under the JDP, DNV will cooperate with AL on a techno economic study of CCS on board the vessels using DNVs FuelPath to assess the economic potential of the different fuel and technology strategies.

Backed by DNV’s experienced global network and team of experts in the Centre of Excellence for Maritime Decarbonization & Smart Shipping in Singapore, we are in a prime position to help the industry navigate the maritime energy transition in a safe and efficient manner.” (Ref 8)

Earlier this year, we entered into another JDP, this time with the Singapore-based shipping company SDTR Marine to cooperate on an Onboard Carbon Capture and Storage (OCCS) feasibility study for the latter’s 85,000 dwt Kamsarmax bulk carrier.

DNV, through its work with other stakeholders and through these JDPs, will make sure it addresses the extremely important economic viability of OCCS and take care of all operational and safety issues at the same time.


Steps towards wider adoption

For shipowners to adopt onboard carbon capture, appropriate emission regulations must be established to credit captured CO2.

Currently, the EU Emissions Trading System is the only regulatory framework incentivizing carbon capture on ships, which is in alignment with EU strategy on land-based CCS.

In addition, the IMO has initiated a working group to look further into how onboard carbon capture can potentially be implemented in new GHG emission regulations.

We also know every well – and the whitepaper emphasizes this - that globally maritime cannot go on its own with OCCS. We must be connected to the global CCUS value chain.

As of today, this infrastructure is not established. The shipping industry needs to reach out to relevant CCUS development projects near major shipping hubs to discuss how the maritime industry can connect to the wider CCUS value chain.

OCCS will be driven to succeed only if it has the necessary global and regional regulatory approvals, in addition to industry assessments, testing and pilot projects.

Note: Access DNV’s guidelines for Onboard Carbon Capture Systems (OCCS) onboard ships here.




Photo credit: DNV
Published: 24 June, 2024

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Alternative Fuels

WEF: South Africa has great potential as a production and bunkering hub for zero-emission bunker fuels

Report highlighted a clear demand signal for bunkering ZEF in selected South African ports will be needed to realise the country’s opportunity to become a global hotspot for zero-emission shipping.





WEF: South Africa has great potential as a production and bunkering hub for zero-emission bunker fuels

South Africa has great potential as a production and bunkering hub for zero-emission shipping fuels – but it needs global demand to get the ball rolling, according to a report by the World Economic Forum recently.

The white paper, titled Decarbonising South Africa’s Shipping and Trucking Sectors, presented the findings and recommendations from a First Movers Coalition workshop held in South Africa in March 2024, which focused on decarbonising the country’s shipping and trucking sectors and developing its potential to produce green hydrogen.

The report said more than 200 dual-fuel methanol vessels have been ordered globally, requiring over 20 Mt of e-methanol fuel per annum to achieve 100% zero-emission operability.

However, fuel availability at that scale is expected to be challenged until at least 2030-35. This demand creates an opportunity for South African producers to secure early customers and sign advance offtake agreements, providing certainty for new projects and improving investment prospects.

The study noted that ammonia also brings advantages as a zero-emission fuel (ZEF), such as high carbon-emission savings, unlimited feedstock (nitrogen) availability and existing logistical infrastructure around the globe. 

While ammonia engines will reach the market from 2025 at the earliest, major carriers like Trafigura and BHP are already placing orders for dual-fuel ammonia vessels.

The World Bank has conducted a pre-feasibility study on establishing green shipping fuel value chains at the ports of Boegoebaai and Saldanha Bay. The study identifies ammonia as the preferred ZEF production choice for South Africa, due to the scarcity of biogenic carbon dioxide to produce methanol. 

“Most of the fuel’s cost comes from hydrogen feedstock – but by leveraging abundant wind and solar supply, the two ports will be able to generate renewable electricity at scale to produce competitive green hydrogen for local industry use (e.g. green steel) and to produce green ammonia for export to the global shipping industry,” the report said.

On bunkering, the report stated political disturbance and security risks in the Red Sea during 2023 to 24 forced many shipping operators to abandon the Suez Canal and re-route their cargo around the Cape of Good Hope. 

Even without those risks, operators shipping lower value or less time-critical cargo may use the Cape route rather than the more expensive Suez Canal, adding two weeks to a ship’s voyage time from Asia to Europe.

“This extra travel time – plus the lower density of zero-emission fuels – could compel vessels running on ZEF to bunker in South Africa before reaching Europe,” it said. 

“Access to zero-emission fuels therefore opens up the possibility of South African ports positioning themselves as bunkering hubs to supply passing shipping traffic.”

“Furthermore, the potential for South Africa to produce e-methanol and e-ammonia has triggered plans to develop ‘green corridors’ – effectively routes connecting ports for vessels to sail on ZEF.

However, the report highlighted a clear demand signal for bunkering ZEF in selected South African ports will be needed to realise the country’s opportunity to become a global hotspot for zero-emission shipping.

“As local demand may take some years to build up, certainty from global demand will play a key role. It is also important to assess different uses for hydrogen beyond maritime fuel, to determine how multi-sectoral offtake can improve the business case for potential project developers,” it said.

Note: The full white paper, titled ‘Decarbonising South Africa’s Shipping and Trucking Sectors’, can be viewed here.


Photo credit: World Economic Forum
Published: 24 June, 2024

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DB Schenker to ship Avolta cargo between Europe and US with bio bunker fuel

All containers that Avolta will move on the Barcelona – Miami route, using biofuel, will be shipped on low emission through application of waste-based marine biofuels and additional units of sustainable marine biofuel.





DB Schenker

Travel retailer Avolta recently said it entered an agreement in Spain with logistics service provider DB Schenker for the transport of goods using marine biofuel between Europe and the United States.

From now on, all containers that Avolta will move on the Barcelona - Miami route, using biofuel, will be shipped on low emission through the application of waste-based marine biofuels and additional units of sustainable marine biofuel, to achieve additional compensation of the biofuel’s upstream emissions.

“This biofuel switch could prevent over 150 tons of CO2e Well-to-Wake emissions per year, based on Avolta’s 2023 container volume on this route, reducing up to 84% of the CO2 emissions,” the firm said.

The fuel used is Used Cooking oil methyl ester (UCOME) and is based on renewable and sustainable sources, mainly waste cooking oil. 

The application will be guided by the Book & Claim System, a set of principles that have been developed through a global, multi-stakeholder process with third-party validation to ensure that the use of this chain of custody model has full traceability and credibility, as well as a demonstrable climate impact.

Camillo Rossotto, Chief Public Affairs & ESG Officer Avolta, said: “We are taking a significant step forward towards decarbonising our shipments and route transportations.”

“This agreement represents the starting point of the transitioning to biofuel for ocean freight which will contribute to decarbonising our logistic emission. Our company's commitment to sustainability is firm and long-term and, as proof of this, we are planning to increase the volume of containers transported using biofuel, advancing in the sustainable and low-emission transportation industry."

Miguel Ángel de la Torre, director of maritime transport at DB Schenker in Iberia, said: "Our mission is to help, facilitate, and guide our customers in the sustainable transformation, and on this occasion, we are doing so by offering this biofuel so that they can convert their freight transport into low-emission transport.”

“In this way, our customer Avolta is not only pioneering and helping to reduce emissions but is also ahead of the new regulations and associated benefits that will be tightened in the coming years.”


Photo credit: DB Schenker
Published: 24 June, 2024

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