Caroline Yang, Chair of the Singapore Shipping Association, talks about tackling environmental challenges
Singapore Maritime Week 2023, the annual international maritime week in Singapore, will kick off on April 24th. Prior to this, I interviewed Caroline Yang, Chair of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), a partner of the event, and Chief Executive Officer of Hong Lam Marine, about the country's efforts to address environmental issues and its role in international shipping. (Interviewer Hisashi Kouzu)
: Environmental measures are urgently needed in the shipping industry. What do you think is necessary to accelerate efforts to achieve net zero emissions in international shipping?
To accelerate efforts to achieve net-zero emissions in the shipping industry, it is necessary to have collective efforts of the industry and international regulatory organisations, green financing support, adoption of new technologies, and collaboration with ports. The shipping industry needs to adopt cleaner technologies like alternative fuels, emission reduction technologies and invest in newer and more energy-efficient vessels. Ports too, can play a crucial role in reducing emissions, while flag states can also do their part to incentivize shipping companies to adopt sustainable practices. Green financing can provide funding for research and development of cleaner technologies, building new vessels, and retrofitting existing ships. By working together, the shipping industry can contribute to the global effort to combat climate change and create a more sustainable future.
In December 2022, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cyber security was exchanged with ClassNK. I would like to hear the purpose of exchanging the same MOU. Also, what do you expect from ClassNK?
The MOU aims to create a culture of cyber threat information-sharing in the shipping industry by encouraging companies to report cyber security incidents. It is a collaboration between SSA, ASA, and ClassNK, who will provide learning materials and create a podcast series featuring industry players sharing their experiences with cyber incidents. The MOU seeks to increase awareness of cyber threats in the shipping industry, provide best practices related to cyber security, and identify safe and secure cyber reporting platforms. Its goal is to ensure safe navigation and protect crews by awarding companies that assist in reporting useful information required by the industry.
SSA looks towards ClassNK to contribute their expertise in building onboard cyber resilience by proposing best practices related to ensuring cyber security suitable for shipping.
: Singapore has established itself as one of the world's largest maritime cities. What role do you think Singapore can play in further developing the maritime industry?
The decarbonisation agenda is and will continue to be very high on the industry’s priorities. Wide scale adoption of alternative fuels, at an affordable cost and with adequate supply is what we need to work towards. Having a robust distribution infrastructure to support multiple fuel sources and supply chains, and consistent, global standards developed for the use of cleaner fuels will also accelerate adoption.
Singapore, through our regulatory body, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, is well-placed in all of these to contribute towards the development of a set of global standards that guide the use of alternative fuels and regulate emissions from ships.
As an established, international bunkering port, discussions are also underway to ensure that Singapore is ready to support international shipping’s multi-fuel bunkering needs. Shipping associations like us are also playing our part. To better support our members with ocean-going vessels who are interested to bunker biofuels in Singapore, the Singapore Shipping Association’s Marine Fuels Committee produced an information package highlighting the commercial and technical aspects of this alternative fuel. The Committee also hopes that this will be a starting point to spur further trials and research interests in biofuels, for it to play a role in the long-term energy transition of our industry.
: I think the importance of Singapore to the Japanese maritime industry is increasing. Would it be possible for you to leave a message for the Japanese maritime industry?
Shipping is an international business, and it is always worthwhile to find opportunities for Singapore and Japan to engage in green maritime cooperation, to promote the decarbonization of shipping. Ship owners in Singapore, for instance, can benefit from the technologies and expertise from Japan, given its strong shipbuilding and marine equipment industries. And we can certainly strengthen existing relationships with the Japanese class society and other experts to exchange knowledge in areas such as cybersecurity.