Singapore Sets Out to Drive Transformation in Bunkering

by Admin
sps baey yam keng officiating launch sibcon 2022 exhibition

The Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) returns for its 22nd edition from 4 to 7 October 2022, as the world’s largest forum for the marine fuel industry. Organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the biennial event gathers prominent industry players and thought leaders across the global bunkering community to discuss pertinent issues such as trade and supply chain developments, the evolving marine fuel industry, digitalisation for bunkering, and the push for decarbonisation. Themed ‘Driving the Transformation of Marine Fuels’, SIBCON 2022 welcomes 1,800 attendees from over 45 countries. 

Speaking at the opening address, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, Mr Chee Hong Tat, shared that the Port of Singapore remained the top bunkering port in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that looking ahead, the global environment has become more uncertain and Maritime Singapore needs to continue transforming to remain relevant as a global hub port and international maritime centre. Mr Chee outlined three key areas – taking steps to kick start our decarbonisation journey, enhancing services through digitalisation, and providing quality assurance – to guide Singapore’s efforts to tackle the near-term challenges for the bunkering sector. 

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Mr Baey Yam Keng, officiated the SIBCON exhibition with industry partners and toured the exhibits. This year, some 30 exhibitors comprising bunker suppliers, bunker traders, oil majors, engine manufacturers, and software companies participated in the exhibition.  

Taking Steps to Kick-start Decarbonisation for the Maritime Sector 

The National Climate Change Secretariat is leading public consultation for the potential raising of our level of ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The push for the full electrification of local harbour craft and the use of biofuels will contribute to this national effort. At the port-to-port level, MPA is working with like-minded ports such as the Port of Rotterdam to establish green and digital corridors and develop a global network. 

Singapore continues to make progress on the bunkering of biofuel. Approximately 70,000 tonnes of biofuel have been supplied in Singapore to ocean-going vessels across more than 40 biofuel bunkering operations. Currently, there is no international quality standard for biofuel as a marine fuel. As part of efforts to support the multi-fuel transition towards decarbonisation, MPA together with the industry, academia, and relevant government organisations under the national standardisation programme overseen by Enterprise Singapore, have developed a provisional national quality standard for marine biofuel to support the development of biofuel bunkering. MPA has also developed a framework setting out conditions under which licensed bunker suppliers may supply biofuel within the Port of Singapore to support trials conducted by vessels. Please refer to MPA Port Marine Circular No. 21 of 2022 in the Annex for details of the standard and requirements. 

On quantity assurance, MPA is working with the Technical Committee for Bunkering to study the impact of biofuel on the metrological accuracy of Mass Flow Meters and is working with stakeholders to amend the SS 648: 2019 Code of Practice for Bunker Mass Flow Metering to include biofuels within its scope.

MPA is also actively looking into the reduction of energy demand which can be pursued regardless of the choice of new marine fuels. This will help shipping companies reduce costs and lower carbon emissions. On alternative fuels, LNG is a transition fuel and Singapore is ready to supply LNG bunker, with a total of 24 ship-to-ship transfer operations in 2021. Singapore’s second LNG bunker vessel Brassavola, was christened this week as well. 

As part of a multi-fuel future, methanol, ammonia and hydrogen derived from renewables and its carriers as well as biofuels could play significant roles in the decarbonisation of global shipping. MPA will continue to collaborate with public and private sector partners to accelerate the trials and adoption of these new fuels to support our domestic and international sustainability goals. 

Strengthening fuel quality assurance

MPA announced in May 2022 that it will co-chair an Industry Expert Group (IEG) with the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) to strengthen quality assurance of bunkers supplied in Singapore and establish a list of chemicals to be tested and their corresponding concentration limits. The IEG includes relevant professional bodies, including the Chemical Metrology Division from Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority, International Council on Combustion Engines, and International Bunker Industry Association. The IEG is expected to provide their recommendations by Q1 2023. MPA, SSA and the IEG will also share information with the International Maritime Organization and International Organization for Standardization as appropriate.

Accelerating digitalisation of bunkering supply chain

Along with the opening conference at SIBCON 2022, Mr Chee also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Singapore Trade Data Exchange Services (SGTraDex) and key industry solution providers. The MoU seeks to promote the integration of the SGTraDex with solution providers to enable efficient data flows and systems interoperability across the bunker supply chain. 

Another industry agreement that was signed in conjunction with SIBCON 2022 includes the MoU between S&P Global Market Intelligence and Bunkerchain on Marine Vessel Pass, an Identity as a Service (IDaaS) that enables ship owners to create digital identities for ships. This could potentially enable vessels to replace wet ink ship stamps and physical signatures.

Joint Oil Spill Exercise to test operational readiness to oil spills at sea

MPA is leading a multi-agency Joint Oil Spill Exercise (JOSE) 2022 on 7 October to test and demonstrate Singapore’s operational readiness to respond to a simulated oil spill incident resulting from a “collision” between a tanker and a bulk carrier near the Raffles Reserved Anchorage. More than 100 personnel from the MPA, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Singapore Police Force (SPF), together with Shell Companies in Singapore and Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) will be participating in the exercise. JOSE 2022 will showcase MPA’s newest patrol craft, MPA Guardian, as the On-Scene Commander platform to direct and coordinate the Whole-of-Government (WoG) responses, as well as to deploy its oil dispersant spray system and oil spill containment booms to control the oil spillage. 

During the exercise, apart from showcasing firefighting capabilities at sea, the SCDF will also be involved in the rescue and evacuation operations, including a height rescue scenario where injured crew will be rescued from the upper deck of a vessel using a lowering system and transferred to SCDF marine vessels for evacuation.   SPF’s Police Coast Guard will provide a security cordon of the incident site. This will prevent unauthorised entry by other vessels, facilitate clean-up works, as well as ensure the safety of vessels in the vicinity.

In addition to the deployment of oil spill containment booms and skimmers around the bunker tanker, OSRL will dispatch a Hercules-C130 aircraft to perform a low level and wide-area dispersal of “oil dispersant” over the anchorage to contain the spread of the spillage. 

JOSE 2022 is expected to host over 80 delegates from SIBCON 2022. 

Media & Press Release MPA Singapore