The new legislation from the United Nations’ shipping agency has set new limits for sulfur emissions from vessels that would come into effect from 2020. LNG as a bunker fuel has the inherent properties to comply with environmental emission norms that are to come into effect in future. This is because it has negligible sulfur content and its combustion emits low NOx as compared to that produced by fuel oil and marine diesel oil.
At present, only 45 vessels globally utilize LNG as a bunker fuel with the majority of these vessels operating in the inland waterways of Northern Europe. Nevertheless, port authorities in Northern Europe are investing substantially in promoting the use of LNG as a bunker fuel. For example, Norway is investing substantially for the development of LNG bunkering terminals at major trading ports. In Norway, the presence of several small-scale LNG production units enables easy distribution of LNG to bunker terminals.
Despite economic and environmental benefits, adoption of LNG is presently restricted to offshore support vessels and passenger ships. Underdeveloped infrastructure for handling LNG bunkering in world’s major ports is considerably challenging the growth of LNG bunkering market.
Nevertheless, projects underway for the development of LNG refueling infrastructure in world’s major ports is expected to boost the adoption of LNG bunker and may even be used by the mainstream marine sector. Furthermore, the emergence of policy based support network and strict emission compliance regulations in place will play a crucial role in the development of LNG bunkering industry.
- Europe to Continue Lead over Forecast Period
At present, Europe tops among other regional markets for LNG bunkering. Inland ferries and offshore support vessels are the initial adopters of LNG as a bunker fuel in the region. Several pre-investment studies have been carried out at major ports in Europe to gauge the feasibility of expansion of LNG bunkering capacities.