Bulc: Europe Leads Development on Use of LNG as Marine Fuel

Illustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

The European Union’s ‘Vision of Zero Emissions from transport by 2050’, would have additional long-term implications for shipowners worldwide, Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, stated at Posidonia 2018.

“The global sulphur cap brings valuable opportunities for the EU manufacturing industry and Europe is leading the development on the use of LNG as a fuel for shipping, which attracts strong interest also in other regions of the world,” Bulc said.

Clean fuel is one of global shipping’s hottest topics as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020 deadline for a global sulfur limit in fuel oil used on board ships is fast approaching. A global approach on decarbonization and environmental sustainability has been discussed on the exhibition floor at Posidonia 2018, where shipbuilders, engine manufacturers and scrubber providers are showcasing their clean fuel plans and strategies vying to attract the attention of shipowners and fleet operators.

But how are the big players from the Far East positioned in the race for clean fuel supremacy? China, Japan and Korea, who hold impressive newbuilding order pipelines from European and Greek shipowners, have once again fielded their pavilions at Posidonia with the imposing presence of their shipbuilding companies.

“We are already prepared for the installation of LNG fuel vessel for various types of vessel, but in Japan, the domestic Japanese owners have not decided yet which way to go, LNG fuel, crude fuel or other types of fuel. At least 4,500 vessels belong to domestic owners and of the total newbuilding order book of Mitsubishi, international shipowners account for less than half of our production,” Tohru Kitamura, Executive Vice President of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company, commented.

“There is an increasing environmental consciousness in Japan as a result of the looming 2020 deadline and several owners will decide to apply our own scrubber system, others will select the low sulphur fuel system and moreover in Japan there are many kinds of small cargo vessels with small gross tonnage and those owners have not yet decided,” Kitamura added.

Kitamura was speaking at the shipping event where he signed a letter of intent with China’s Cosco Shipping for the manufacturing of a new scrubber demo test facility.

“LNG is the future and it is a big part of China’s environmental policy. Our government is very strict on the protection of the environment. We have similar regulations in China. We have a main area for low sulphur oil burning during the vessel discharging process. We are researching how to retrofit the main engine with LNG tanks and are investing in partnership with GTT, a French LNG solution provider, who are supporting us on the LNG retrofitting project. More and more LNG vessels are discharging in China and docking in China,” Steven Zhang, Head of Repair & Conversion Department, COSCO Shipping said.

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