Singapore-Rotterdam Green & Digital Shipping Corridor accelerates digitalisation and decarbonisation with new global value-chain partners

Singapore-Rotterdam Green & Digital Shipping Corridor: Accelerating Global Decarbonisation

Singapore vs. Rotterdam In August 2022, the Port of Rotterdam Authority (PoR) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) launched the GDSC to expedite efforts towards maritime decarbonisation and digitalization. Being two of the world’s biggest bunkering ports, Singapore and Rotterdam are essential hubs for the Asian-European shipping route and significant contributors to the worldwide movement to make international shipping more resilient, efficient, and sustainable. Thus far, the GDSC initiative has united 26 global value-chain partners, including banks, industry coalitions, top universities, shipping lines, fuel suppliers, port authorities, and knowledge partners.

Strong global support for Singapore-Rotterdam GDSC

The newest entrant to the corridor is Hapag-Lloyd, the fifth-largest liner shipping firm in the world, with over 260 oceangoing vessels under its fleet. Along the busy Asia-Europe trade route, Hapag-Lloyd has pledged to deploy large container vessels powered by zero- and near-zero emission fuels, joining four other top worldwide container shipping lines in this endeavour.

The A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing (A*STAR IHPC) is in charge of A*STAR’s Centre for Maritime Digitalization (A*STAR’s C4MD), one of the other new corridor partners. The goal of A*STAR’s C4MD programme is to provide cutting-edge artificial intelligence, computer modelling, and simulation solutions for a secure, effective, and long-lasting marine ecosystem. The GDSC partners’ list is located in Annex A.

Encouraging the uptake of zero and near-zero emission fuels 

The partners in the GDSC want to expedite the adoption of zero and near-zero emission fuels, including synthetic and bio-variants of methanol, ammonia, methane, and hydrogen, by conducting multiple first-mover pilot projects and testing commercial structures. This implementation comes after previous modelling studies to investigate several alternative fuel paths and their potential as sustainable marine fuel, conducted by the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Centre for Zero Carbon-Shipping and the Centre for Maritime Studies of the National University of Singapore.

Bio-methane Working Group 

Under the direction of SEA-LNG, the bio-methane working group has looked into pertinent laws and certification requirements, such as the ISCC EU certification, to facilitate the commercial use of bio-methane for marine bunkering. Over 2024 and 2025, the GDSC partners want to conduct Bio-LNG bunkering pilots. These pilot projects would be built on the mass balancing chain of custody idea, which entails physically mixing certified biomethane with conventional LNG that isn’t certified over shared transportation, storage, and distribution networks like pipelines.

Methanol Working Group 

Following the conduct of the Port of Rotterdam’s green methanol terminal bunkering operation on the world’s first methanol-fuelled container ship, and the world’s first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering at the Port of Singapore, the methanol working group, led by PoR, has worked on a clear starting point for fuel standards and knowledge exchange on chain of custody principles. The Working Group will also be addressing common challenges such as acceptability, availability, and affordability to carry out commercial methanol bunkering at both Ports of Singapore and Rotterdam.

Ammonia Working Group

The ammonia working group, jointly led by MPA, the Nanyang Technological University Maritime Energy and Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence, and the A*STAR’s C4MD will be developing a framework to assess the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of green ammonia for bunkering, and a decision-making tool for value-chain partners to optimise their green ammonia supply chain network. This study, to be completed by 2025, will support ongoing efforts by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop the Life Cycle GHG Assessment (LCA) framework and guidelines for alternative marine fuels.

Hydrogen Working Group

The hydrogen working group has been evaluating the viability of using hydrogen as a marine fuel for container ships that travel across oceans, both economically and technically, thanks to Shell’s participation. Beyond desktop-based research, the working group hopes to create innovative ship designs that will maximise the potential that hydrogen presents as a sustainable marine fuel while helping the GDSC partners comprehend the cost difference and practical solutions to the problems.

Commercial Structures Working Group to reduce cost barriers to zero and near-zero emissions fuels

To support these fuel-based initiatives and drive commercial scalability, a working group led by PoR and the Global Maritime Forum (GMF), supported by the GDSC partners, is developing and testing commercial structures to reduce the cost barriers of using zero and near-zero emission fuels. The working group is currently exploring various demand and supply aggregation mechanisms and public and private financial levers that have the potential to collectively bring down the green premium and help bridge the cost gap.

Adoption of digital solutions for efficient and secure ship-shore data exchange and GHG emissions monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV)

In terms of technology, Singapore and Rotterdam have effectively tested the exchange of port-to-port data, and as a result, they can now share information about vessel arrival and departure timings to help with port planning and ship optimisation during port calls between Singapore and Rotterdam. In light of this trial’s success, Rotterdam and Singapore have jointly released a request for proposals (CFP) for standards-based systems that provide safe and effective data transfer between ships and the shore. International Standards from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO), and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) shall be followed in this exchange. More than thirty representatives from technology companies and international shipping lines have registered for the industry engagement session as part of the CFP process. The goals of the session are to discuss the potential of digital ship identity solutions, improve the data sharing procedure, and coordinate on value quantification. The submission window closes on May 31, 2024.

Both ports are supporting a proof of concept to carry out monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of GHG emissions along the route in collaboration with industry partners. The proof of concept would be based on international industry standards for emissions reporting and in line with national, international, and regional emissions reporting requirements, such as those under the EU’s MRV regime and the IMO’s Data Collection System (DCS). It is intended to be improved through subsequent open calls.

Mr Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive of MPA said, “The progress made since the establishment of the Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor in August 2022 demonstrates that public-private collaboration across global value chains can be achieved. This collaboration will allow Singapore and Rotterdam to pilot innovative solutions on one of the world’s busiest shipping routes and accelerate the decarbonisation and digitalisation of the shipping industry.”

Mr Boudewijn Siemons, Chief Executive Officer of POR said, “The Singapore-Rotterdam Corridor is a very valuable collaboration in accelerating the twin transition: the integration of digital innovation in energy transition efforts. Not only are we seeing the first results in standardization and data sharing for Port Call Optimization but also the first steps in moving towards operationalization of zero and low carbon fuels on this trade lane.”

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