Sumitomo Corporation

Consortium to explore ammonia as marine fuel

April 1, 2024
Five-member group to study feasibility of establishing a clean ammonia supply chain for ship-to-ship bunkering on the West Coast

A five-member coalition that includes producers and third-party logistics providers plans to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a “comprehensive and competitive” supply chain for the provision of clean ammonia ship-to-ship bunking on the West Coast.

The study will take place at the Port of Oakland, Benicia, and nearby major ports, the members reported. The group includes the American Bureau of Shipping, Calamco (the California Ammonia Company), Fleet Management Limited, Sumitomo Corporation, and Tote Services.

“We are proud to share our industry-leading expertise in ammonia as a marine fuel to support this study on the U.S. West Coast,” Panos Koutsourakis, vice president of global sustainability at American Bureau of Shipping, said in a news release. “Our expertise in developing safety guidelines will support the consortium to address the ammonia specific set of safety and technology challenges.”

Ammonia, which does not emit any CO2 when combusted, has long been considered one of the most promising alternative marine fuels to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) direct emissions within the shipping industry, according to the group. This goal aligns with the revised International Maritime Organization (IMO) strategy to reach net-zero emissions from international shipping “close to” 2050 on a life-cycle basis.

“We are excited to support the exploration of ammonia bunkering in the U.S. West Coast,” said Dan Stone, Calamco president. “As one of the few ammonia storage and handling facilities in the geographical area, Calamco is well positioned to serve the growing needs of the maritime industry. Calamco has many years of safe and efficient operational experience at the Port of Stockton.”

Calamco is a California-based cooperative composed of grower members, as well as the largest ammonia distributer in the state. The study aims to explore the possibility of utilizing Calamco’s existing ammonia storage terminal at Port of Stockton for a pilot demonstration project of ammonia bunkering for car carriers calling at the Port of Benicia and container vessels calling at the Port of Oakland as a first step toward wide adoption of ammonia as a marine fuel on the West Coast. The Port of Benicia is one of the key vehicle-handing ports in region, while the Port of Oakland also ranks among the top 10 largest container ports in the U.S.

“We are pleased to lend our technical expertise to this important clean ammonia study, which ultimately aims to facilitate carbon-free trade between the Far East and the U.S. West Coast,” said Kishore Rajvanshy, Fleet Management Limited managing director. “Our focus on designing dual fuel vessels and implementing safe and reliable ammonia bunkering has positioned us well in recent years. We have also collaborated closely with our ship-owning clients, providing support in the development of ammonia bunkering vessels, as well as ammonia-fueled container vessels and bulk carriers.

“As one of the world’s largest ship managers, we are committed to supporting our clients’ green energy transition and contributing to the broader decarbonization efforts within the shipping industry.”

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