Singapore considers electric harbour boats to cut carbon emissions

Bumboats pass the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort in Singapore, Aug 4, 2017.
PHOTO: Reuters

SINGAPORE - Singapore is seeking proposals on the electrification of small vessels known as harbour craft as the industry transitions towards a low-carbon future, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The MPA is working with the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) to seek proposals from industry participants and institutes of higher learning or research institutes to develop commmercially ready fully electric harbour craft.

They are also seeking proposals for shore charging infrastructure for electric harbour craft and other electric vessels operating in Singapore’s port.

Proposals with a viable business model to be scaled up will be more favourably considered, MPA and SMI said.

Harbour crafts are small vessels typically fuelled by oil that only operate within Singapore waters and are used to carry a small number of passengers, for towing other vessels or to carry dry or packaged cargoes.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has a long-term goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent from 2008 levels by 2050. New IMO rules that came into effect this year only limit sulphur content in marine fuels.

“Green supply chain is the future of shipping and for Singapore to maintain its hub status, innovation must enable the transformation of the shipping industry through co-creation,” said Sanjay Kuttan, SMI’s executive director.

“To accelerate our decarbonisation efforts of the local harbour craft industry, we invite industry innovators to lead a consortium with our local researchers to deliver impact in our fight against climate change.”