The port authorities at the ports of Singapore and Rotterdam, two of the largest bunkering ports in the world, have partnered up to launch what they claim will be the world’s longest green corridor for shipping.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Port of Rotterdam Authority will seek to realize the first sustainable vessels sailing on the route by 2027 by bringing together a broad coalition of shippers, fuel suppliers and other companies to collectively work towards transitioning low and zero carbon alternative fuels, including synthetic methane, hydrogen, and hydrogen-based fuels including ammonia and methanol.
Beyond alternative fuels, the MoU also aims to optimize maritime efficiency, safety, and the transparent flow of goods by creating a digital trade lane where relevant data, electronic documentation and standards are shared. This will facilitate the seamless movement of vessels and cargo, and optimise just-in-time arrival of vessels from port to port.
The port authorities will work with the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation and the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero-Carbon Shipping, as well as other industry partners across the supply chain including BP, CMA CGM, Digital Container Shipping Association, Maersk, MSC, Ocean Network Express (ONE), PSA International, and Shell for a starters.
“Shipping is among the most important industries to decarbonise, owing to its large international reach and volume, which continues to grow,” said Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “By bringing together parties across the supply chain along one of the world’s biggest trade lanes, we can enable carriers to switch to zero-carbon fuels and speed up the transition to more sustainable shipping.”
Green corridors have been growing in popularity as a means to help the shipping industry decarbonize. They involve setting up specific trade routes between major port hubs where zero-emission solutions are demonstrated and supported. During the UN’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in 2021, a coalition of countries launched the Clydebank Declaration, agreeing to establish at least six green corridors by 2025 and more by 2030.
Earlier this year, the ports of Los Angeles and Shanghai announced the Green Shipping Corridor parntership, setting goals that include items like phasing in of low, ultra-low, and zero carbon fueled ships through the 2020s and planning the world’s first zero carbon trans-Pacific containerships to be introduced by 2030.
The UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set an initial strategy to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050, but the agency is under increasing pressure to adopt a more ambitious target in-line with 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, i.e. net zero by 2050.
“This MoU further strengthens the strong partnership between Singapore and Rotterdam,” said Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA. “It reaffirms Singapore’s commitment towards facilitating a multi-fuel bunkering transition as part of the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint 2050, and accelerates our digitalisation efforts to optimise maritime efficiency and improve supply chain resilience. The pilot will complement efforts undertaken by the shipping industry, including partners such as Google Cloud, and the IMO to support decarbonisation and digitalisation transition for international shipping, as we work towards developing and scaling up green and digital solutions for wider adoption.”