Industry Articles

Fuelling A Cleaner Greener Maritime Future

AMOID2122_ED02-Pix01The world of shipping is going through tough times, where the ability of shipping services to deliver vital goods is central to overcoming the pandemic.

The single biggest challenge the world is facing, pandemic or not, is the battle against global warming and climate change. Environmental concerns and priorities will influence the way the maritime industry operates. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set a target for the international shipping sector to reduce quantitative carbon intensity and greenhouse gas (GHG), aiming for a 50 percent reduction in total annual GHG emissions by 2050. Such an ambitious GHG reduction strategy poses challenges for a range of stakeholders, from ship owners, to ship builders, designers, and fuel suppliers financiers and policy makers.

As a trusted hub port and international maritime centre, Singapore is committed to promoting environmental sustainability in the maritime industry and has adopted strategies that include the Maritime Singapore Green Initiative (MSGI) and Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint 2050.

Maritime Singapore Green Initiative (MSGI) was first launched in 2011. MPA became known as the world’s first maritime administration to launch a comprehensive pro-environment initiative. When it was renewed in 2016, it included two new programmes – Green Awareness Programme and the Green Energy Programme. MSGI was reviewed again in 2019 to ensure relevance. Subsequently, it was extended for five years until 2024, where the enhanced MSGI featured a fresh focus on decarbonisation. Under the enhanced MSGI, new carbon emissions-related incentives replace the sulphur emissions-related ones in the Green Ship Programme (GSP) and Green Port Programme (GPP).

As at 2019, 574 Singapore-flagged ships have qualified for the GSP. GPP has achieved considerable success with more than 4,700 vessel calls having switched to marine fuel with sulphur content not exceeding 1 percent. The Green Technology Programme (GTP) has more than 20 projects involving 60 vessels. The annual carbon dioxide emissions from the improved ships has been reduced by more than 177,000 tonnes. In 2020, the GTP was replaced with the Green Energy and Technology Programme, which focuses on technology development to support maritime decarbonisation. The Green Energy Programme supports the growth of Singapore’s LNG bunkering industry by providing funding for seven LNG-fuelled vessels and two LNG bunker vessels.

The MSGI has been one of MPA’s key sustainability initiatives since 2011. To meet maritime sustainability goals, MPA reviewed MSGI in 2019, where it was enhanced with a new focus on decarbonisation. As a result, new carbon emissions-related incentives have replaced existing sulphur emissions-related ones in the Green Ship Programme (GSP) and the Green Port Programme (GPP). The GSP now includes a new incentive to encourage the adoption of engines using alternative fuels with lower carbon content. In addition, the GPP now has new incentives for the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker during port stay and for ships exceeding IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index requirements. The two MSGI programmes have been extended for another five years to 31 December 2024.

Another milestone in the Maritime Singapore story will be etched come 2021, when MPA launches the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint 2050. The blueprint contains a few focus areas. MPA hopes that port terminal and local harbourcraft operators can implement operational measures to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt lower-carbon alternative energy sources such as LNG or electrification. A bunkering roadmap for transitioning Singapore’s bunkering industry to cater for future lower-carbon fuels is also in the works. On the international front, MPA will continue to work with the industry to adopt energy-efficient ship designs and for Singapore-registered ships to be sustainable in their operations.

Under Research and Development (R&D) efforts, through the SGD40 million Maritime GreenFuture Fund, MPA is working with the industry and academia to develop technologies and pilot the use of alternative marine fuels, such as methanol and biofuels.

The longer term goal for Singapore is to equip the port to supply a wide range of future, cleaner, fuel types, to meet the diverse needs of ships that choose to call into Singapore.

These endeavours will not only help secure Singapore’s lead as a top bunkering hub, but also support the vision for a greener and more sustainable maritime ecosystem.

Cleaner Marine Fuels
Singapore has been at the forefront of promoting the use of cleaner marine fuels, including LNG. It has been developing LNG bunkering capabilities under the LNG bunkering pilot programme. It has also partnered port administrations to establish a global network of LNG bunker-ready ports, co-funded the construction of LNG-fueled vessels, and continues to promote LNG as a cleaner, interim fuel.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
New breed of LNG-powered vessels
French shipping and logistics firm CMA CGM, set the bar for the adoption of LNG in their fleet.

On 11 Oct 2020, the world’s largest LNG-powered container ship docked in Singapore. The CMA CGM Jacques Saade megaship has a capacity of 23,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), and is operated by a 26-man crew, along with one gas management officer.

The ship was a product of seven years of R&D, harnessing digital technology and powered using LNG. Mr Stephane Courquin, head of CMA CGM in Asia and Oceania, said that LNG is the most advanced solution when it comes to preserving air quality today, and called it a “critical part of our energy transition strategy”. Compared with traditional marine fuel oil, LNG reduces sulphur and fine particles emission by 99 percent, nitrogen dioxide emissions by 85 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 20 percent.

CMA CGM also announced that there would be eight other similarly large ships joining its fleet. By 2022, it would have 20 LNG-powered vessels. The shipping and logistics firm hopes for a wider adoption of LNG in the industry.

LNG bunkering hub
Already the world’s largest marine refuelling hub, Singapore has been working towards building the infrastructure to become the leading hub for LNG bunkering in Asia and beyond.

On 24 March 2021, Singapore became the first port in Asia where a container ship powered by LNG was refuelled by another ship. This is a significant milestone for the maritime sector and proof that Port of Singapore is now ready to support ship-to-ship LNG bunkering.

As the CMA CGM Scandola loaded and unloaded cargo at Pasir Panjang Terminal, the 15,000 TEU container ship was also being refuelled with 7,100 cubic metres of LNG by the FueLNG Bellina, Singapore’s first LNG bunkering vessel. The simultaneous operation of loading/unloading and refuelling shortens the time ships need to stay in port, and paves the way for larger LNG-powered vessels to call at Singapore for refuelling.

Shell’s LNG Outlook report says there are about 400 LNG-fuelled ships in operation or on order. Global LNG bunkering demand is expected to grow to 30 to 50 million tonnes per year by 2040.

Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “The use of LNG as a marine fuel is fast gaining traction worldwide amid a global push to use cleaner shipping fuels. As the world’s top bunkering and transshipment hub port, MPA is pleased that we are able to facilitate Asia’s very first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operation with simultaneous cargo operations. We will continue to work with the industry to promote LNG bunkering in Singapore and drive the transition to more sustainable shipping.”

In its endeavour to become Asia’s leading LNG bunkering hub, Singapore has been bolstering its infrastructure to support the use of LNG. To date MPA has issued two LNG bunker supplier licences to FueLNG Pte Ltd and Pavilion Energy Singapore Pte Ltd. Come 1 January 2022, Total Marine Fuels Private Limited joins the fray of LNG bunker suppliers, to drive the demand for LNG bunkering volumes in Singapore.

Other Fuels
On 24 February 2021, MPA and Yara International ASA (Yara) joined Ammonia-fuelled tanker Joint Development Project (JDP) partners - MISC Berhad (MISC), Lloyd’s Register (LR), Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and MAN Energy Solutions (MAN), to develop ammonia propulsion ships to support the maritime industry’s drive to decarbonisation. Called the “The Castor Initiative”, MPA’s involvement offers insight on safety issues and ammonia bunkering procedures.

Earlier on in September 2020, LR had awarded an in-principle approval to SHI for its ammonia-fuelled tanker design with the aim of commercialising these developments by 2024.

While ammonia is one of the fuels being considered by maritime stakeholders, the partners also recognise that the shipping industry will need to explore multiple decarbonisation pathways and hope their collaboration will spur others in the maritime industry to join forces on addressing this global challenge.

MPA looks forward to collaborating with like-minded industry partners to support the development and trials of alternative future marine fuels such as ammonia.

As part of its plan to be carbon-neutral by 2050, CMA CGM announced introduction of biomethane, a renewable green gas, to support the energy transition in the shipping sector.

Guarantee-of-Origin Biomethane, coupled with CMA CGM’s dual-fuel gas-power technology, can reduce well-to-wake (entire value chain) greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide) by at least 67 percent. On a tank-to-wake basis (at ship level), the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions reaches 88 percent.

CMA CGM intends to push ahead with the development of this energy source by investing in biomethane production facilities and studying the viability of liquefaction processes so that biomethane can be rolled out as a shipping fuel.

As of May 2021, the Group’s customers will be able to select biomethane, paving the way for a substantial reduction in the environmental impact of the shipping of their goods.