The drive for decarbonisation we witnessed in 2022 has continued into 2023, demonstrating the shipping’s industry positive strides in the fast-paced transition towards a more sustainable future.
In the absence of a ‘silver bullet’ for shipping’s commercial fleet, choosing the right evolutionary pathway for vessels will require a sophisticated and tailored approach that brings together the expertise of knowledgeable partners.
The industry is making positive strides towards the scaling up of low and zero-carbon fuels, but the existing bunkering infrastructure needs some work to ensure availability and supply at the right price. It is therefore likely that ship owners will use LNG or drop-in fuels in the foreseeable future as a transitionary step towards full decarbonisation.
LNG is a valuable fuel in today’s mix with its ability to immediately reduce emissions – compared to fuel oil – and comply with current regulation – for example the IMO’s Global Sulphur Cap – as well as its global availability and scalability. It opens the door to carbon-neutral options – such as bio-LNG, synthetic LNG and ammonia – which will be crucial in the near future and more trials in this area are to be expected.
However, the impact of Russia’s invasion on Ukraine saw substantial price rises, and weak demand from China – due to their stringent lockdown restriction – which stemmed the growth rate of the fuel. Despite this, research from DNV shows that “against all odds, 2022 turned out to be almost on par with the record year of 2021 for LNG-fuelled ship orders.” 81% of all vessels ordered with alternative fuels last year will run on LNG.
As prices become more competitive, and cleaner variants – such as bio-LNG and synthetic LNG – become available, the outlook will become even more positive for LNG.
It is important that the maritime industry has the tools and partners to safely manage the uptake of LNG as the marine fuel supply chain transforms. All LNG vessels require a back-up fuel supply system in the absence of port availability or any issues with the existing LNG system to ensure the safety of the crew, passengers, cargo and the asset, as well as avoiding unnecessary downtime and associated costs. Fuel supply units are therefore crucial in securing a steady supply of pilot fuel to a vessel’s engine and to safeguard operations as backup for the LNG/LPG system.
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