Singapore gears up to meet net-zero needs of shipping

Singapore Maritime Transformation | Towards Net-Zero Shipping

The Increasing Digitalization and Decarbonization Conference brought together more than 500 participants from the maritime industry, academia, and international organizations to explore potential digital and data technologies and solutions to decarbonize the industry, as well as to discuss how value-chain stakeholders can collaborate on pilots and trials and safely produce, transport, and bunker net-zero fuels. Participants received updates from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) regarding improvements in Singapore’s capacity to bunker methanol and ammonia as well as net-zero paths for the country’s harbor craft industry. On this occasion, the 3rd Maritimes Low Carbon 50 Awards ceremony took place.

“As an international maritime centre and global hub port, Singapore will work with our tripartite partners and international shipping community to digitalize, enhance energy efficiency, and deploy low- and zero-carbon emission marine fuels,” stated Mr. Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive, MPA, during his speech at the conference. In order to provide pathways for these marine fuels, MPA is collaborating with partners. This collaboration is focused on providing the infrastructure, crew training, rules, and safety requirements required for bunkering these fuels. Creating the from beginning to end value chains for these new fuels is a top goal.

Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) outlined in his introductory speech the significant actions that IMO Member States have taken in the wake of the historic adoption of the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships. “The IMO 2023 GHG Strategy shows the shared commitment of Member States and the global shipping industry,” Mr. Dominguez stated. By late 2025, we plan to implement mid-term policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net-zero emissions. Member states are now debating these mid-term measures, which include a pricing system for maritime greenhouse gas emissions and a goal-based marine fuel standard. With indicative checkpoints to accomplish by 2030 (reduce GHG emissions by at least 20%, trying for 30%) and 2040 (lower GHG emissions by at least 70%, striving for 80%), these will help us move closer to achieving net-zero GHG emissions by or around 2050. The goals apply to the whole maritime industry.

Singapore actively collaborated with the IMO and other Member States to create an agreement for the adoption of the 2023 Strategy for the Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80) in July 2023. Mr. Dominguez expressed gratitude to Singapore for helping to ensure that the marine industry’s green and digital transformation reaches every region of the globe, including least-developed countries and small island developing states. The IMO-Singapore Single Window for Facilitation of Trade (Swift) project 2 and the combined IMO-MPA NextGen initiative 1, where “GEN” stands for “Green and Efficient Navigation,” are two examples of specific projects.

At the event, MPA and the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced their relationship and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Energy Transition of the Maritime and Port Industries. Through capacity building training programs, the MoU will support the adoption and transition of zero and near-zero emission fuels by the maritime and energy industries, facilitate the sharing of best practices across these industries, and support pertinent fuel-related projects and initiatives like the IMO-Singapore NextGen and NextGen Connect Initiatives. IEA Chief Economist, Mr. Tim Gould, shared that the IEA warmly welcomes this MoU as a major step forward in their cooperation with the MPA, a critical player in the region and the world, to improve access to low-emission fuels. 50 proposals for the supply of methanol as a bunker fuel in Singapore.

An expression of interest (EOI3) for the provision of methanol as a marine fuel in Singapore was released by MPA last year, following the completion of the world’s first ship-to-container methanol bunkering in Singapore. In order to enable a robust fuel supply to meet the needs of methanol-capable vessels in Singapore in the upcoming years, the EOI sought proposals covering three areas: methanol supply, methanol bunkering operating model at commercial scale, and alternatives to the physical transfer of methanol molecules to Singapore. According to industry consultations, Singapore may see a demand for more than one million metric tons per annum (MTPA) of methanol as a marine fuel before 2030, depending on how quickly supply chains, infrastructure, and regulations across the world develop.

The EOI generated a lot of attention. Out of the 50 submissions that MPA received, 40% offered end-to-end solutions that addressed each of the three issues that the EOI identified. Participating in the EOI were more than sixty regional and global businesses from the energy, fuel, trading, bunker, and storage sectors. This indicates a strong level of business confidence in Singapore as a major global shipping hub for methanol offtake.

Promising proposals have been received for the supply and delivery of low-carbon methanol; several of these projects have either reached Final Investment Decision or are currently in operation. Combined, these projects might provide more than one MTPA of low-carbon methanol by 2030, assuming market conditions and worldwide advancements remain unchanged. Numerous businesses intend to make use of Singapore’s ready storage infrastructure and will collaborate with craft operators to construct or acquire methanol-carrying bunker tankers that meet MPA safety and quality assurance standards, crew training requirements, and methanol bunker tanker specifications. The bids that were received show that the industry is getting ready for the demand for methanol bunkers to increase in the upcoming years. This is especially evident in the fact that Type II bunker tankers that can supply methanol are expected to be delivered this year.

The creation of the methanol bunkering regulatory framework will be guided by the insights gained from the EOI submissions, ensuring a secure and effective commercial supply of methanol in Singapore. Through the Singapore Standards Council (SSC), MPA and Singapore (Enterprises) are creating national standards for ammonia and methanol bunkering. The standards will facilitate the maritime industry’s shift to sustainable alternative fuels and work to assure the safe operations and handling of these fuels. They cover topics including crew training and competences, operational and safety standards for the transfer of ammonia and methanol from a bunker tanker to receiving boats, and custody transfer regulations. Enterprises is anticipated to release the methanol specifications in 2025. It is anticipated that MPA would finish its regulatory framework for methanol bunkering license in the upcoming months. By the end of the year, MPA will be inviting applications for a license to distribute methanol as a marine fuel in Singapore.

In order to facilitate further development on a worldwide scale, MPA will closely collaborate with the consortiums on the chosen chain-of-custody proposals on pilots that evaluate the viability of these techniques and technologies.

The next stages in creating ammonia bunkering capability

Fortescue Green Pioneer, the first ocean-going ammonia-powered vessel in the world, completed its maiden fuel trial in Singapore4 in March 2024, successfully completing the six-week test. The Fortescue Green Pioneer was granted permission by the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) and the classification society DNV to utilise ammonia as a marine fuel in conjunction with diesel, thanks to the “Gas Fuelled Ammonia” notation. Over the course of the next four weeks, the Fortescue Green Pioneer will be loaded with a second tranche of three tonnes of liquid ammonia to undertake additional testing and experiments. For Singapore Maritime Week 2024, Fortescue Green Pioneer will be berthed at Keppel Bay as part of the schedule of events. The IMO Secretary-General, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez, is scheduled to visit the Fortescue Green Pioneer in order to get to know the emergency response protocols and safety protocols of the ammonia-fueled vessel. He will also have the opportunity to interact with maritime professionals on board.

Proposals to build an end-to-end solution to supply low- or zero-carbon ammonia for power generation and bunkering on Jurong Island are presently being reviewed by MPA and the Energy Market Authority (EMA). In a restricted Request for Proposal (RFP5), the shortlisted consortiums from MPA and EMA’s EOI submitted their ideas. After a second round of shortlisting the bidders, MPA and EMA will collaborate with the chosen companies to complete the pre-Front End Engineering Design (pre-FEED) study for ammonia power production, ammonia bunkering, and ammonia import ports. The purpose of the pre-FEED is to verify the project’s technical and financial viability prior to MPA and EMA choosing a lead developer to work with the government on it by Q1 2025.

MPA will be extending an invitation to shipping firms that intend to transport ammonia or that are currently transporting ammonia to take part in an open, non-binding Request for Information (RFI) to estimate the cost of shipping and insurance for ammonia from possible source regions to Singapore. In order to collect demand and benefit from economies of scale in ammonia transportation, participants may designate hubs for ammonia demand between the source nation and Singapore. To see the RFI document, interested parties are encouraged to visit The submission period ends on May 17, 2024, at 2359 Singapore time.

About 2026, the Singapore Registry of Ships plans to register its first four bulk ships that are dual-fuel with ammonia. Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS)-managed Newcastlemax bulk ships will be among the first globally equipped with ammonia-dual-fuel engines. The SRS will also be used to identify EPS’s two more ammonia dual-fuelled Very Large Ammonia Carriers (VLACs), which are expected to be delivered in 2027. To commemorate this important milestone for the SRS, MPA, EPS, and the two classification societies, Lloyd’s Register and the American Bureau of Shipping, signed two memorandums of understanding (MoU) earlier in the conference. EPS and MPA will collaborate closely to investigate and support crew training at the new Maritime Energy Training Facility, which is expected to be gradually constructed by 2026, on zero- and near-zero emission fuels and related technologies.

By 2050, port and terminal operators will achieve net-zero

MPA had stated domestic aims for port and terminal operators to reach net-zero by 2050 and for all new harbour vessels to be fully electric, capable of using B100 biofuel, or compatible with net-zero fuels from 2030 onwards, in line with the national target to achieve net-zero by 2050. Timelines for pilots of tugboats, pleasure craft, and bunker tankers are being considered, and they will be disclosed eventually.

When compared to diesel prime movers, electrified port machinery such automated guided vehicles, yard cranes, and quay cranes can cut carbon emissions by nearly 50% at Tuas Port’s active berths. Additionally, PSA, the port operator, will significantly cut Tuas Port’s energy consumption through battery energy storage systems, smart grid technologies, and improved container handling procedures. Using 58% less energy than other buildings of comparable size, Tuas Port’s Maintenance Base building is one of Singapore’s first Super Low Energy Buildings, thanks to its clever energy management tactics and solar photovoltaic panels for energy harvesting. By 2050, PSA wants to have zero net emissions.

Encouraging the domestic harbor craft fleet to switch to electricity

Following the call for proposals6 to create, operate, and maintain electric harbour craft (e-HC) charging sites in Singapore, MPA announced in January 2024 three vessel charging solutions to be piloted in Singapore. Recently, Pyxis and SP Mobility erected the first charging point pilot at Marina South Pier. The creation of a national master plan, implementation strategy, and national standards for e-HC pricing infrastructure will be aided by the data collection’s insights. In addition, MPA is collaborating with academic institutions, industry stakeholders, and Enterprise Singapore to create a Technical Reference (TR) for e-HC charging and battery swapping systems. Public comments on the draft TR can now be made at

With an EOI for e-HC design proposals7, MPA also shortlisted a total of 11 passenger launch and cargo lighter vessel designs in February 2024. MPA is presently collaborating with research institutes and higher education institutions to improve the different vessel designs and lower their energy needs. When the reference designs are prepared, production orders from the industry can be gathered and the designs gradually sold. This should result in total cost savings for businesses switching to e-HC.

In response to the EOI8 issued in October 2023 to assist early adopters of e-HC, MPA has received twelve funding and seven insurance proposals. A number of banks have shown interest in providing harbour boat owners with direct debt financing choices. The financial institutions’ and intermediaries’ considerable interest in providing alternative financing options beyond debt financing to help the sector’s transition to e-HC has also been confirmed by the EOI response. MPA will launch a closed request for proposals in the upcoming round of the EOI process in order to select one or more alternative finance alternatives for execution. In the upcoming months, MPA will provide further details on the next stages. According to the insurance-related submissions, the suggested insurance rates for e-HC are similar to those for traditional harbor boats. In order to implement supportive measures that would aid in right-pricing the premiums, MPA will be working with the industry in response to the feedback obtained from EOI participants who had submitted insurance proposals. Establishing a data repository platform, creating training courses to encourage safety consciousness and best practices for e-HC operations, and creating frameworks and processes for quality assurance are a few examples of these mechanisms.

Blends of biofuel up to B50 are already commercially accessible, aside from electrification. The amount of biofuel blends delivered in 2023 was 520,000 tons, a more than threefold increase from 140,000 tones in 2022. The standards up to B100 are being developed by MPA in collaboration with industry, and completion is anticipated by 2025.

Global partnerships to accelerate the decarbonization of international shipping

Singapore is in a good position to spur the creation of Green and Digital Shipping Corridors (GDSCs) in order to enhance maritime decarbonization for global shipping since it is a major transshipment center. By bringing value-chain participants together to examine different low- and zero-carbon fuel paths and to identify pilots and demonstration projects, GDSCs aid in the creation of a green fuel supply chain. As of right now, Singapore has set up five GDSCs 9, which are important venues for testing and experimenting with alternative fuels and digital solutions to help with the industry’s transformation.

Since the Singapore – Rotterdam GDSC was founded in August 2022, 26 international partners have joined forces to carry out a number of first-mover pilot projects and test commercial structures aimed at hastening the adoption of zero and nearly zero emission fuels, including hydrogen, methanol, ammonia, and synthetic and bio-variants of these fuels10. The corridor partners will release a study on April 18, one year after the GDSC was formed with the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2023. The study is intended to inform future fuel demand for zero and nearly zero emission fuels as well as the advantages of decarbonizing the shipping routes amongst the GDSC partners.

Acknowledging businesses that set an example

Today was the third annual Maritimes LowCarbon50 Awards presentation. The UN Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS), the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), and MPA collaborate to organize the award11. It honors the leading businesses that have successfully reduced emissions and decarbonized by utilizing the Carbon Emissions Recording Tool (CERT)12 and performing accurate carbon accounting. 30 people from roughly 20 different companies attended the Carbon Management Workshops in 2023, which were co-hosted by GCNS and MPA. A panel made up of representatives from MPA, SSA, and GCNS then assessed the submissions from the companies on the following criteria: “Accuracy of Carbon Accounting,” “Effective Reduction of Emissions,” “Scalability and Value Creation of Emissions Reduction Measures,” and “Innovation of Emissions Reduction Measures.” Five firms received the Maritimes LowCarbon50 award, while four companies received Honorable Mentions. For further information, see the Annexed.

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