Rotterdam Port: IAPH LNG Audit Tool Found to Be Efficient

Illustration Image Courtesy: STX/Wartsila

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) audit tool has proven to be useful when granting LNG bunkering licenses at ports. By 2020, the Port of Rotterdam anticipates having nine licenses given to LNG bunker providers.

“By using best practice guidelines in the IAPH audit tool developed by ports for port authorities, licenses to operate can be efficiently assessed and granted to professional LNG bunker operators looking to provide their services across several ports,” Cees Boon, Senior Policy Advisor at the Harbourmaster Policy Department of the Port of Rotterdam, said.

“By 2020, our estimate is that we will have granted nine licenses to LNG bunker providers to operate at the Port of Rotterdam,” he added.

As explained, six of the licenses are already for regular use in port LNG bunker operations to refuel LNG-powered cruise, cargo, tanker and container vessels. In addition, three licenses will be for bunker vessels that will operate on the spot market.

Boon was speaking at the Riviera Maritime LNG Ship/Shore Conference in London, at the session on new developments in LNG terminal infrastructure. Cees is also a member of the IAPH Clean Marine Fuels Working Group which put together the audit tool with the support of the industry.

During the session, Boon gave an overview of LNG onshore and ship-to-ship bunkering facilities which have been licensed and already operational. He also explained the entire procedure for licensing and how LNG ship-to-ship bunkering during simultaneous operations (SIMOPS) is possible & permitted alongside terminals at the Port of Rotterdam as long as it is safe and controlled.

By following a systematic and highly detailed process of checks on both LNG bunkering vessels and the operator, the IAPH audit tool was found to be a very useful and efficient way of pre-qualifying an applicant before entering into the full process of HAZID/HAZOP risk assessment, location, mooring, simultaneous operations and external risk assessments, according to Boon.

“We found that by having operators answer a detailed list of questions from the IAPH audit tool, we could offer concrete observations as constructive feedback as to how they measured up to industry best practices at an early stage. This also allows operators and vessel owners to build these into their safety management systems prior to the main nautical and external safety studies taking place on location,” he commented.

“Once a license has been granted to a bunker operator and vessel owner, the result of the IAPH LNG audit tool can also be shared with other port authorities receiving applications from the same parties… the IAPH tool could in theory be used to assess the same operator and LNG bunker vessel owner across several ports,” Boon explained.

Dunkerque LNG also provided an overview of their port infrastructure to meet up to 13 billion cubic meters of LNG import demand into France and Belgium as well as providing full LNG ship bunkering operations. Whilst most of the world’s 118 LNG-powered vessels currently operate in the Baltic Sea, Dunkerque LNG’s Cécile Grégoire-David predicted that the majority of the world’s 128 LNG fuel-enabled newbuilds currently on order would call at European destinations. This could translate into a future potential of up to 50 LNG bunker operations per year at the port of Dunkirk by 2025.

Grégoire-David also highlighted the EU-funded “GREEN LOOP” program in which Dunkerque LNG aims to participate with TOTAL in LNG bunkering operations together with vessel owner MOL to serve the fleet of newbuild CMA-CGM dual-fuel ultra-large container vessels currently under construction and scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2020.

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