Photo: Port of Antwerp

IAPH, SGMF team up to enable low & zero-carbon fuels at ports

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) and The Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF) have partnered up to accelerate progress on provision of low & zero carbon fuels at ports.

 Bunkering of the vessel at Port of Antwerp. Image courtesy:  Port of Antwerp.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the duo outlines how SGMF and IAPH plan to share know-how on safe, effective, sustainable supply and use of all gases as marine fuel.

In particular, the potential use of ammonia will be investigated from source to ship with all related safety, operational and sustainability considerations.

As explained, the agreement brings together the principal technical stakeholders needed to accelerate the adoption of alternative liquified gas fuels at ports — SGMF with its energy majors, gas suppliers, equipment manufacturers, technology providers, classification societies, shipyards, ship owners and operators with the world’s principal port authorities and terminal operators from IAPH.

“The Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF) was formed in 2013 with the primary objective of advocating the safe and sustainable use of low flashpoint fuels for ships,” Mark Bell, General Manager and COO of SGMF, said.

“Safety is the prevalent factor and as the industry transitions towards an inevitable low carbon future, at SGMF we are looking forward to working with IAPH’s experts from ports, many of whom are either already operational or who are in the process of implementing infrastructure that provides alternative fuels to vessels.”

“As with the recent commenting paper submitted by IAPH to the IMO on the case for MBM revenue allocation to land-based infrastructure, it is our belief that ports may serve as the key link between the land-based fuel producers and the sea-based fuel consumers, as well as the link between fuel production and other non-shipping fuel consumers,” Antonis Michail, IAPH Technical Director, commented.

“Ports have the potential to act as energy hubs as a cheaper and safer alternative than storing it elsewhere. SGMF members with their technical competences have the potential to help us make that happen.”

Operational safety and zero-carbon fuels

Capitalising on over a decade of know-how on bunker checklists, audit tools to evaluate terminal operator concessions and terminal readiness guidance with tried and tested procedures to ensure rigorous operational safety when handling LNG will now also be applied to new alternative fuels such as ammonia, hydrogen and methanol.

This has become a major focus of the IAPH Clean Marine Fuels (CMF) Working Group.

“Our Working Group is busy developing a generic audit tool as well as truck-to-ship and ship-to-ship bunker checklists for liquified gases, so being able to tap into the pool of experts from the SGMF will be extremely useful,” Peter Alkema, Policy advisor to the Port of Amsterdam and Chair of the CMF, explained.

“As an example, a recent study by the Port of Amsterdam and DNV concluded that spacial safety considerations are especially important when considering the deployment of bunkering infrastructure for ammonia at ports. How to handle these issues will be for all stakeholders, not just the ports.”