Singapore and Japan to study on LNG bunkering for car carriers

SINGAPORE - The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is teaming up with the Ports and Harbours Bureau of Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) to help drive liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering in Asia.

The two organisations announced at the inaugural Singapore and Japan Port Seminar on Monday that they will helm a working group to conduct a feasibility study on LNG bunkering for car carriers plying between Japan and Singapore.

The working group will include Japan's big three shipping companies - Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL).

The study will focus on the technical details such as fuel tank capacities and refuelling requirements to assess the feasibility of running LNG-fuelled car carriers between Japan and Singapore.

It will be one of the activities jointly undertaken by MPA and MLIT under the memorandum of cooperation signed earlier in April. The memorandum envisages cooperation between the two entities in areas such as port planning, port management and technological development in the port sector.

Minister for Transport of Singapore Khaw Boon Wan said the partnership is an opportunity for Singapore and Japan to co-lead in a global search for solutions to make shipping greener.

"In particular, the joint study on the feasibility of LNG bunkering for car carriers between Japan and Singapore offers great promise. It extends bilateral cooperation to shipping and raises bilateral cooperation to new level," he said.

Mr Keiichi Ishii, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan, added: "I believe that Singapore, the world's top bunkering port, and Japan, the world's top LNG importer, have the responsibility to contribute to the development of global shipping through jointly promoting the use of LNG as marine fuel."

Both Singapore and Japan are ready to provide LNG bunkering operations using trucks, and are looking into the next phase of LNG bunkering for ocean-going vessels.

The MPA and MLIT also signed a multilateral memorandum of understanding in October last year to widen the network of LNG bunker-ready ports in Europe, US and Asia.

tsjwoo@sph.com.sg