Good evening, everyone, I was asked to provide a few words, in fact a 3-minute speech on the relevance of “New Technologies for Greener Shipping” in our bunker industry.
The tightening of environmental regulations continues to affect the maritime narrative and shipowners are obliged to comply with these regulations whilst remaining competitive. The increase in regulatory compliance is a key driver for exploring new propulsion technologies such as alternative fuels. Hydrogen has been lauded as an alternative marine fuel which could play a significant role in lowering emissions in the shipping industry and an objective of the South African Hydrogen Society Roadmap (HSRM) is to create an export market for South African hydrogen. Could South African hydrogen play a role in the global bunker industry?
- There are no hydrogen powered vessels in the world fleet.
- Retrofitting existing vessels is a costly exercise.
- There is no infrastructure for hydrogen bunkering in ports; and
- Alterations to existing marine fuel bunker infrastructure is a costly exercise.
But I consider these factors opportunities, not challenges, as this represents a blue ocean opportunity for South Africa to be first to market.
The bunker industry has not been included in the Hydrogen Society Roadmap but perhaps the Department of Transport could engage their counterparts at the Department of Science and Innovation to include development of hydrogen as an alternative marine fuel.
SAMSA, as the flag state administrators could create a hydrogen champion to develop a training programme which aligns to the STCW convention and certification. The passing of the SAMSA BUNKERING CODE OF PRACTICE would set the foundation for SAMSA to embark on this process.
Transnet could possibly partner with the South African bunker industry to develop innovative pilot programs and once a minimum viable prototype has been developed, funders such as Hy24 Partners, who have committed to deploy almost $2 billion within the next six years to a portfolio of projects across Europe, the Americas and Asia, could be approached to look at innovation on the continent.