Silk Alliance outlines implementation plan for green corridor cluster

Members of ‘The Silk Alliance’ cross-supply chain industry partnership, initiated by the Lloyd’s Register (LR) Maritime Decarbonisation Hub, have issued an open letter to drive actions to accelerate the green corridor cluster in Singapore.

Port of Hamburg/Illustratio; Image by Offshore Energy

The letter outlines an implementation plan with key milestones and actions to achieve before the end of the decade. The aim is to steer members’ collective efforts towards accelerating zero-emissions shipping across the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The multi-year implementation plan will focus on practical applications, exploring the deployment of vessels using near-zero-carbon ammonia and methanol fuels, scalable fuel supply infrastructure, and avenues for bio and synthetic methane.

Implementation will commence by focussing on three short-term milestones.

Initially, members will establish the sequence of the green corridor, including where the corridor will start and how it will scale over time.

Then, by early 2025, Silk Alliance members will identify which fuel pathways to escalate from the initial pilot project stage by determining each fuel’s carbon intensity and identifying those pathways that will support the corridor with near-zero carbon fuels.

The third milestone will see a workstream focused on finance to address investment hurdles and identify financing mechanisms to get the initiative underway.

The implementation plan outlines the key efforts needed to achieve the deployment of pilot vessels running on near-zero carbon fuels by 2027.

By aggregating demand for alternative fuels through the pilot vessels running on low-carbon methanol and ammonia deployed in this initiative, Silk Alliance members will drive investments into scaled alternative fuel supply infrastructure in Singapore and the intra-Asia container trade route from 2028 to 2030. These fuels will have the scalability to further grow the wider regional bunkering market.

The milestones outlined in the open letter will need to be delivered through a combination of actions from Silk Alliance members alongside efforts from across the maritime value chain to support the ultimate implementation of this green corridor cluster.

The implementation plan will be refined and updated by members as the initiative continues to progress.

“This open letter by members of the Silk Alliance demonstrates our strong commitment to ensuring our learnings will be shared effectively as a model for cross-industry collaboration across the maritime supply chain, which is essential to accelerate decarbonization goals,” Charles Haskell, Programme Director, LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub, said.

“As we proceed with the implementation plan, we look forward to working closely with the Silk Alliance members in moving the green corridor cluster initiative from conceptual phase to action.”

The members of the Silk Alliance have urged key stakeholders to pave the way for a sustainable shift in the shipping industry.

Addressing governments, the letter implores collaboration with fuel producers to gradually introduce cleaner fuel options such as methanol and ammonia while aligning with their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) objectives. Fuel producers are urged to support transparency, regional fuel availability, and production costs.

To letter further calls for increased engagement from global investor communities, both public and private, to unlock investments for the implementation of the green corridor. Port authorities are asked to standardize fuel requirements in the regions where fleets operate for a safe and consistent energy transition.

Charterers and cargo owners are invited to align on carbon intensity targets and develop financial mechanisms to encourage fuel offtake agreements, thus driving region-specific infrastructure investments. Shipbuilding yards and engine developers are requested to prepare for increased demand for ammonia and methanol newbuild orders by 2026, supporting the Alliance’s implementation timelines.

The Maritime Just Transition Task Force partners, including the International Labour Organization (ILO), IMO, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and the United Nations Global Compact, are urged to work on seafarer training for the safe handling of methanol and ammonia. The Silk Alliance also calls for similar initiatives for dock workers and shore-based personnel who will handle these fuels once the green corridor is operational.

Established by the LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub, a joint initiative between Lloyd’s Register Group and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, members of the Silk Alliance comprise cross-supply chain maritime stakeholders such as the Methanol Institute, MPC Container Ships, PSA, Singfar, Wan Hai lines, X-Press Feeders and Wärtsilä.

Most recently, the membership expanded to include the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore and fuel producers, with the alliance looking to continue strengthening its public and private sector engagements further.