MPA Establishes Global Centre For Maritime Decarbonisation In Singapore

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) announced the formation of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) in Singapore and its leadership team with effect from 1 August 2021. Set up with a S$120 million fund from MPA and six founding partners namely BHP, BW Group, Eastern Pacific Shipping, Foundation Det Norske Veritas, Ocean Network Express and Sembcorp Marine, the centre will spearhead the maritime industry’s energy transition journey.

GCMD aims to collaborate with the industry to help the maritime sector reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, implement identified decarbonisation pathways and create new business opportunities. The set-up of a decarbonisation centre was first announced during the Singapore Maritime Week in April 2021, as one of the recommendations in the International Advisory Panel for Maritime Decarbonisation’s report submitted to the Singapore Government.

Collaborations in maritime decarbonisation gaining momentum

As part of GCMD’s ongoing efforts to explore joint industry projects that advance the deployment of low- and zero-carbon maritime solutions, 31 organisations ranging from shipping companies, classification societies, research centres, traders, energy players, terminal and tank operators, engineering companies, financial institutions to industry associations have expressed interest to collaborate with GCMD.

singapore ship representation
Image Credits: MPA

GCMD will be working with these organisations to establish strong partnership and initiatives as part of its objective to deliver value to the industry globally.

GCMD to be headed by international experts on clean energy transition and emerging solar technologies

Prof Lynn Loo will be appointed Chief Executive Officer. She will be responsible for working with GCMD’s Governing Board to develop and execute the overall strategy for the new centre. She will also take the lead in building partnerships with the maritime industry, government agencies, international bodies and other regional and international maritime decarbonisation centres. Lynn is currently the Director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University. Under her leadership, the Andlinger Center released the Net-Zero America Study that laid out technological pathways by which the U.S. can stop contributing to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2050. She is also known for her development of a transparent solar cell technology to wirelessly power “smart” windows that can decrease building energy use while increasing occupant comfort. She will continue to hold her position as the Theodora D. ’78 and William H. Walton III ’74 Professor in Engineering and professor of chemical and biological engineering while on leave from Princeton.

Dr Sanjay Chittarajan Kuttan will be appointed Chief Technology Officer to lead technology and research development and pilot trials initiated by the centre. He will also be involved in standards development of future marine fuels, as well as strengthening the linkages with local research institutes and international decarbonisation centres to advance maritime decarbonisation efforts. Sanjay is currently the Executive Director of the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) and is responsible for building deeper Research and Development (R&D) capabilities within the local maritime R&D community and funding key maritime research projects with industry.

GCMD Governing Board to comprise representatives from the industry and public sector; Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao appointed Chairman

GCMD’s leadership team will be supported by a Governing Board, who will work with the team to define the strategic direction of GCMD. Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Chairman of BW Group and the Singapore Maritime Foundation, will be appointed Chairman of GCMD’s Governing Board. The Governing Board is made up of eight other members who have deep industry networks to help grow GCMD into a leading centre of excellence for maritime decarbonisation. They are:

Chairman Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao Chairman, BW Group
Board Member Ms Quah Ley Hoon Chief Executive, MPA
Board Member Mr Beh Kian Teik Deputy Chief Executive, National Research Foundation
Board Member Mr Jeremy Nixon CEO, Ocean Network Express
Board Member Mr Wong Weng Sun CEO, Sembcorp Marine
Board Member Mr Rashpal Bhatti VP, BHP
Board Member Mr Remi Eriksen CEO, Foundation Det Norske Veritas
Board Member Mr Cyril Ducau CEO, Eastern Pacific Shipping
Board Member Prof Lynn Loo CEO, Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Future Developments
In partnership with the industry, GCMD will facilitate decarbonisation technology development and test-bedding, including future marine fuel trials with the industry and research communities in Singapore. To this end, MPA is looking at developing waterfront facilities to support these activities. MPA is working with relevant agencies to study the viability of locating GCMD along with other maritime developments at Marina South.
Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport, said, “The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation has garnered much interest from industry stakeholders. This strong support is important for developing commercially viable solutions for sustainable shipping.  As a hub port and international maritime centre, Singapore will contribute to this shared vision by growing a vibrant ecosystem for maritime decarbonisation research, technology development and solution deployment.  The Centre’s work will involve going into new areas and uncharted waters, we are grateful to our partners for sailing this journey together with us.”
Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Chairman, Governing Board of GCMD, said, “Decarbonisation is a global challenge, and our industry has to play its part.  The challenge is too large for any one company to solve, so collaboration is essential. This centre will build on the positive steps taken by many maritime players around the world, and Singapore’s position as a leading maritime centre, to help the industry transition to a low-carbon future.”
Prof Lynn Loo, Chief Executive Officer, GCMD, said, “I am honoured and excited to lead GCMD. Contributing 3% of global carbon emissions annually, shipping is one of the hardest-to-abate sectors. GCMD offers a huge opportunity to make significant inroads on the sector’s decarbonisation agenda. Starting in Singapore, our work will carry us widely across the globe, rigorously testing promising solutions with a simple goal of taking tangible next steps to help the maritime sector navigate the energy transition.”

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