Itochu to study ammonia marine fuel supply chain with Vopak to reduce CO2 emissions

15, Jun. 2020

Photo by Martin Damboldt from Pexels
Photo by Martin Damboldt from Pexels

SINGAPORE, NNA – Major Japanese trading house Itochu Corp. has partnered with Dutch tank terminal operator Royal Vopak N.V. to conduct a feasibility study in the development of a supply chain for eco-friendly, ammonia-based marine fuel in Singapore.

Itochu and energy supply affiliate Itochu Enex Co. signed the agreement with Vopak Terminals Singapore Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of Royal Vopak, in joining hands to establish the use of alternative fuel for vessels, Itochu said in a statement.

The total cost of the project is being withheld, Itochu spokesman Masato Terasaki told NNA in a telephone interview on Monday.

Itochu will develop offshore facilities such as a floating tank and a fuel supply ship. The trader will also initiate partnerships with firms such as shippers, marine transport companies, and ammonia producers to own and operate vessels fueled by ammonia. Itochu Enex plans to develop an ammonia fuel supply chain, the statement said.

Vopak will develop onshore facilities for the storage of ammonia at its Banyan Terminal in Singapore, according to the statement.

Itochu and the affiliate have chosen Vopak as their partner in the project largely because the Dutch company is one of the largest providers of ammonia storage and handling services in Southeast Asia’s trading hub, Terasaki said.

The agreement on the project came amid growing expectations for the development of ammonia-fueled vessels that are friendlier to the environment as global trends toward a decarbonized society are gaining momentum.

Itochu noted in the statement that after the Paris Agreement came into effect in 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set an industry-wide target of phasing out carbon dioxide emissions entirely during this century.

The trading house is also considering expanding the supply chain outside Singapore, but the spokesman declined to identify specific countries and areas where the company will run such a chain.