SINGAPORE: Singapore will waive port dues for new low- and zero-carbon-fuelled harbour craft for five years from the date of their registration as part of the country's efforts to push for a more sustainable maritime sector.
In addition, concessions on port dues - currently available to vessels powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) - will be extended to include vessels using low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels, announced Minister for Transport S Iswaran on Wednesday (Apr 6).
Concessions will also be extended to vessels that exceed the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) energy efficiency design index (EEDI) Phase 3 requirements by 10 per cent or more, he added.
Speaking at the second IMO-Singapore Future of Shipping Conference, the Transport Minister said that the Singapore Registry of Ships is "committed to reducing emissions".
Mr Iswaran noted that the registry's green notation was introduced last year to recognise Singapore-registered ships that exceed the IMO’s EEDI Phase 3 requirements by 10 per cent or more, as well as ships that adopt engines that use low- or zero-carbon fuels.
The Green Ship Programme - which provides incentives to vessels which reduce their emissions - will be aligned with these requirements to offer such ships rebates on their registration fee and annual tonnage tax.
Mr Iswaran, who is also Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, also pointed to other efforts made by Singapore to reduce emissions from the maritime sector, such as last year's launch of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation.
"The centre is developing, trialling and shaping the standards needed to deploy low- and zero-carbon fuels and solutions," he said.
He added that the country had co-sponsored the industry's proposal at the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee to establish an International Maritime Research and Development Board, financed through mandatory contributions of US$2 per tonne of marine fuel consumed.
"This would create urgently needed funds to make low- and zero-carbon solutions commercially viable, while supporting capacity building for developing countries’ climate action," he said.
"Singapore supports global (market-based measures) that incentivise the transition to greener shipping, while addressing the disproportionate impact on States, especially developing countries," said Mr Iswaran, pointing to the country's support of a global carbon levy on international shipping.
"This will provide international shipping companies with greater certainty, as well as clear price signals. Most importantly, a unified, global scheme will remove the regulatory costs and complexity of unilateral regulations imposed by countries or regions," he added.
Mr Iswaran also announced the launch of the NextGEN (Green and Efficient Navigation) Connect initiative, which invites different stakeholders to propose solutions for inclusive maritime decarbonisation.
The call for proposals will be open to the industry, academia and global research centres, he said, noting he hoped to see proposals to trial action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions along specific routes in the Asia Pacific region, in an "equitable and inclusive manner".
"Successful proposals, once proven in trials, could then be implemented on a wider scale along other routes," he said.