Japanese firm Itochu has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with five marine companies for facilitating the joint development of ammonia fuel supply chain in Singapore.

Itochu, in collaboration with Itochu Enex, Vopak Terminals Singapore, Pavilion Energy Singapore, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Total Marine Fuels, will study ammonia’s role as a new marine fuel.

The new agreement upgrades Itochu’s previous MoU implemented with Vopak in June last year.

It will see Itochu, along with Pavilion Energy, Total, and Itochu Enex, facilitate the development of ammonia fuel supply chain and promote the safety guidelines of ammonia bunkering.

Together with Vopak, Itochu will work on the development of an independent, onshore facility for storing and handling ammonia.

In addition, MOL and Itochu will jointly encourage the development of offshore facility, including floating storage unit and/or ammonia bunkering vessel.

Specifically, Itochu Enex, Total and Pavilion will be responsible for promoting the development of ammonia fuel supply chain and safety guidelines of ammonia bunkering.

The MoU is not confined to the acceleration of the development of an ammonia fuel supply chain but is also an integral part of an integrated project that will see Itochu and partners work for the development of an ammonia-fueled vessel.

Itochu stated that these initiatives will be executed according to its new medium-term management plan to ensure ‘contributions to the SDGs and improved efforts’ to promote greener marine operation.

Since the Paris Agreement came into force in 2016, the marine industry has been making efforts to move towards low-carbon operations.

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set the objective to cut down carbon emissions by at least 40% by 2030 in comparison with 2008 levels, as well as reduce the combined annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050.

To attain these targets, the marine industry is working towards the early adoption of ammonia as a suitable zero-emission marine fuel.