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Study to ensure safe ammonia bunkering for container ships underway

Study to ensure safe ammonia bunkering for container ships underway
Photo courtesy of Maersk

Eight companies and organisations, including ITOCHU Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly study the safety of ammonia bunkering for container carriers powered by this alternative fuel. The initiative underscores the shipping industry’s move towards adopting ammonia, a zero-emission fuel, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ammonia’s role as a pivotal player in the transition to green marine fuels is gaining traction. The MOU signifies a critical step towards the global adoption of ammonia as a marine fuel and is integral to ITOCHU and its partners’ broader project of establishing a worldwide ammonia supply chain and developing ammonia-powered vessels.

The companies and organisations involved in the study are Algeciras Port Authority, Spain; Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands; Maritime Energy & Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence (MESD), Singapore; CMA CGM, France; Maersk A/S, Denmark; Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Japan; Pavilion Energy Singapore, Singapore; PSA Corporation, Singapore; TotalEnergies Marine Fuels, Singapore; and ITOCHU.

This joint study builds on previous collaborative efforts initiated in 2021 and 2022, involving a diverse group of stakeholders, including port authorities, container liner operators, and bunkering specialists. The focus is on addressing safety concerns associated with ammonia bunkering operations for container carriers.

A primary objective of the study under the MOU is to assess the safety of simultaneous container cargo operations and ammonia bunkering at container terminals. This evaluation is essential for container carriers to optimise operational efficiencies while ensuring safety protocols are uncompromised.

ITOCHU is at the forefront of developing ammonia-powered container carriers, following its progress in creating ammonia-fueled bulk carriers, which received Approval in Principle in 2022. Insights derived from the MOU will expedite the development of ammonia-powered container carriers, with plans to introduce them to the international shipping market by the late 2020s.

The corporation is committed to fostering sustainable energy systems, aligning with its medium-term management plan’s basic policies. These initiatives underscore ITOCHU’s dedication to contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and enhancing efforts to transition to a low-carbon society.