Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Andrew Tan said that Asia is still behind other parts of the world when it comes to LNG bunkering, calling for global hub port cooperation.
Speaking at a conference in South Korea on Thursday, Tan said that there is potential for LNG bunkering in Asia considering some of the most important trade routes traverse the region.
To prepare for the future, Singapore is taking steps to prepare itself to be an LNG bunker-ready port when LNG becomes more viable as an alternate fuel, enabling the port to service a range of vessel types and sizes seeking to take LNG as a marine fuel, Tan said.
Singapore will be commencing its LNG bunkering pilot programme in 2017 as the platform to test the LNG bunkering procedures in Singapore.
Tan said, currently around the world, there are already 48 LNG-fuelled vessels operating on dual fuel or tri-fuel diesel electric propulsion engines with another 85 on order. Some 48 ports around the world are also either LNG bunkering ready or have plans to do so, noting that Asia is trailing behind.
However, the high costs involved in building or retrofitting LNG-fuelled vessels, and the need for further development of LNG bunkering infrastructure in ports, necessitates governmental intervention to make LNG widely adopted as a marine fuel.
“For example, the European Union is providing significant funding under its “Trans-European Transport Network” that has seen support of various LNG-fuel related projects . Looking to the East, countries such as China, Korea, and Singapore have made commitments to further develop LNG bunkering infrastructure and/or support the building of LNG-fuelled vessels,” Tan said.
MPA has been collaborating closely with industry partners, stakeholders as well as the Ports of Antwerp, Zeebrugge and Rotterdam to harmonise LNG bunkering procedures.
“MPA has already received proposals from potential LNG bunker suppliers and we have plans to issue LNG bunker supplier licences by 2016,” Tan said.
While LNG bunkering is likely to take off for short sea voyages in its initial stages, MPA’s urged discussions and cooperation amongst global hub ports interested in providing LNG bunkering for short sea and ocean-going vessels.
He also urged existing platforms to exchange ideas, share best practices and even develop a regional roadmap for LNG bunkering.
LNG World News Staff; Image: MPA