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THREE ports on the world's key trade routes have joined a focus group that aims at harmonising LNG (liquefied natural gas) bunkering standards.
These latest additions are a sign that the use of LNG as a marine fuel or bunker to support a green shipping future is gaining traction among major ports around the world.
A signing ceremony on Monday on the sidelines of the third Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR), organised by the Ningbo Municipal Port Administration Bureau, formalised the inclusion of China's Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, France's Port of Marseille Fos and Canada's Port of Vancouver in the LNG Bunkering Port Focus Group, which now comprises 11 ports and maritime administrations across Asia, Europe and North America.
The focus group also includes Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and seven other members - Antwerp Port Authority, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Zeebrugge, Port of Jacksonville, Norwegian Maritime Authority, Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and South Korea's Ulsan Port Authority.
This focus group was formed with the intent of enabling the uptake of LNG as marine fuel globally by facilitating, among other things, the harmonisation of LNG bunkering standards across its members.
MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said that PAR as a platform initiated by Singapore in 2015 helps to forge closer collaboration between ports based on like-minded interests.
MPA welcomed the three new ports joining the focus group. Mr Tan viewed the inclusion of Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan - the first Chinese port in the group - as adding impetus to enable the uptake LNG as marine fuel for the Far East Europe and Intra-Asia trade routes.
Michio Kikuchi, director-general of the Ports and Harbours Bureau at Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and Tourism, expressed confidence that the addition of the Port of Vancouver will bring about a significant effect on "accelerating cleaner transpacific trade". Mr Kikuchi's comment took into consideration improved access to refuelling points for LNG bunker along the
Cai Shenkang, general manager, Zhejiang Provincial Seaport Investment and Operation Group and Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Group, said: "We are very happy to join the LNG port focus group at the invitation of Singapore. Ningbo-Zhoushan Port looks forward to work closely with members (of the focus group) to promote the use of LNG as a marine fuel for global shipping. Through this group, we believe strongly that we can work together to address safety requirements imposed by international organisations for LNG bunkering and barriers faced by ocean-going vessels looking to use LNG as a fuel in the future."
Duncan Wilson, vice-president, corporate social responsibility, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, said: "We are pleased to be invited by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Ports and Harbours Bureau, to join this Memorandum of Understanding. Together with other signatories, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is committed to working together to deepen cooperation and information sharing in relation to LNG bunkering, and to develop a network of LNG bunker-ready ports."