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Sustainability

New centre focused on decarbonisation, digitalisation of Southeast Asia's maritime sector set up in Singapore

SINGAPORE: A new centre focusing on the digitalisation and decarbonisation of Southeast Asia’s maritime sector has been set up in Singapore by classification body DNV GL.

Supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Maritime Decarbonisation and Autonomy Centre of Excellence will focus on digitalisation, decarbonisation and smart port capabilities, contributing to the country's ambition of developing a “smart and sustainable maritime ecosystem” in the region, the Norway-based firm said on Thursday (Feb 4).

“DNV GL experts will help establish new maritime processes, standards and frameworks; and will explore novel fuel technologies to accelerate the decarbonisation of the maritime industry to meet IMO (International Maritime Organization) targets,” it said in a press release. 

The IMO - a United Nations agency that governs shipping - has set the target of cutting carbon emissions from international shipping by at least half by 2050, with carbon intensity reduced by 40 per cent by 2030. 

DNV GL said the centre has already undertaken a number of projects, such as conducting a technical consultancy on a hybrid battery ferry for Kochi Metro Rail in India, leading to the construction of 23 vessels.

It is also working with venture development firm Rainmaking to select and nurture start-ups to find new technologies to lower emissions from shipping.

DNV GL-Maritime's regional manager for Southeast Asia, Pacific and India Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria said the new centre would allow the firm to take on a “more proactive role as a trusted advisor to the industry”, with greater digitalisation allowing it to offer new services to meet “current and future regulatory requirements”.

READ: Making shipping cleaner - is LNG the answer?

“The industry efforts that the Centre of Excellence will undertake in the areas of alternative fuels and autonomous shipping will reduce the environmental impact of shipping and related activities,” said EDB's vice president and head of Commercial and Professional Services Dawn Lim. 

“This is aligned with Singapore’s climate change goals as we work towards transitioning to a low carbon economy. We look forward to working with like-minded companies to develop standards and solutions that will increase the sophistication of Singapore’s maritime industry." 

Speaking to reporters via an online press conference on Thursday, the Centre of Excellence’s director Shahrin Osman said it would take a holistic approach when advising companies on decarbonisation, taking into account their own strategies and plans, as well as helping them monitor emissions from their existing fleet. 

Dr Shahrin, who is also DNV GL regional head of maritime advisor, said it would focus on research and development as well as collaborations with universities, ship owners and governments.

READ: Commentary: Singapore ports and ships are turning the tide on climate change

“We are dedicated to (establishing) decarbonisation roadmaps to help the industry on this journey and we see a huge potential in harnessing data from digitalisation. By strengthening our presence in Singapore and Asia, it allows us to work even closer with our customers to accelerate the application of technology under development and the deployment of solutions,” he said. 

Since 2014, DNV GL has been working with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to spearhead maritime innovation.

In 2019, they renewed their partnership to further promote the decarbonisation and digital transformation of the maritime industry, focusing on areas such as the development of low and zero-carbon ship fuels, as well as autonomous and remote-controlled ships. 

In November last year, DNV GL was granted funding by MPA to lead a joint industry project to develop baseline standards in remote surveys, inspections, and audits, "aimed at strengthening operational resilience in times of uncertainty".

The project, which will be completed in April this year, will look into areas such as industry standards for the remote inspection of vessels and preparing small-and-medium enterprises in the maritime sector to expand overseas.

Source: CNA/az

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