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Singapore Maritime Week 2018: Singapore shares its collaboration initiatives to promote sustainable shipping

COLLABORATION is key in the journey towards cleaner and greener shipping, as it is a global enterprise, said Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min.

He was speaking at the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) Conference, held in conjunction with Singapore Maritime Week, on Thursday.

Jointly organised by the governments of Germany, Norway, the Philippines and Singapore, the conference saw more than 250 participants and stakeholders from across Asia and Europe.

The conference was held to promote sustainable shipping following the recent adoption of the initial strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from International Maritime Organization (IMO).

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Dr Lam shared three examples of how Singapore has fostered collaborations to improve sustainable shipping.

The first, highlighting collaboration across countries and continents, was Singapore's creation of a focus group between port authorities and maritime administrations from Asia, Europe and the US to promote LNG (liquefied natural gas) bunkering (marine refuelling). This resulted in the world's first set of harmonised safety standards for LNG bunkering, he said.

Another example was the collaboration between governments and inter-governmental organisations. He explained that Singapore has pledged an enhanced technical cooperation and training package for IMO and IMO member states, valued at US$5 million over five years.

The last instance showcased the collaboration between the government and the industry. He said that 429 ships qualified for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore's Green Ship Programme, which encourages the use of efficient ship designs to reduce carbon dioxide and sulphur oxide emissions, last year. This was an eleven-fold increase from 2012, he added.

He also pointed out that there were more than 4,100 calls at Singapore by vessels that burn low sulphur marine fuel last year, double the number in 2013, as a result of the Green Port Programme. The programme incentivises ocean-going ships calling at the port of Singapore to reduce their emission of pollutants with reduction in port dues.

Participants from the other countries also exchanged insights and best practices on a wide range of issues integral towards sustainable shipping. For instance, they shared about new technological and commercial solutions, partnerships and perspectives from both Asia and Europe.

Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen said: "Determined efforts and private-public partnerships have brought Norway into a leading position in developing and using green technology in domestic shipping."

Dr Lam said: "No single entity can resolve the complex and cross-cutting issues on its own. This means we need to foster collaboration and partnership, between governments, industry, research institutions and academia."