Friday, April 15, 2011

Neptune Orient Lines to switch to low sulphur fuel in Singapore


CONTAINER shipping and logistics group NOL has announced that its vessels will start using cleaner burning, low sulphur fuel at ports in Singapore, where the company is based.

The move to convert to marine gas oil while at berth will affect all 80 of the vessels operated by APL, the group's container shipping line, which make more than 900 port calls in the Lion City annually.

APL president Eng Aik Meng said: "We feel a responsibility to manage the environmental impact of global trade.”

The decision is expected to reduce sulphur oxide emissions from the carrier's ships by almost 90 per cent. "Sulphur oxides are considered a key component of acid rain. Ash and particulate matter emissions could be reduced by 80 per cent to 90 per cent," a statement from the parent group said.

Said Maritime and Port Authority chief Lam Yi Young: "We greatly welcome APL's decision to switch to using low sulphur fuel in Singapore and hope that more shipping companies will follow APL's lead in doing so.”

The switch to cleaner burning fuel is said to have beaten a deadline set by the International Maritime Organisation that has been adopted by Singapore so calls for the sulphur content of marine fuel be reduced to 3.5 per cent in 2012 and to 0.5 per cent by 2020. The marine gas oil the container shipping line will use in Singapore has an average sulphur content of 0.25 per cent, the statement said.

According to the company, it began its voluntary fuel switching programme in Los Angeles and Seattle in 2007. It has since extended the initiative to Vancouver, Hong Kong, New York and New Jersey.

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