Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has released a feasibility study on the potential for turning the Port of Yokohama into an LNG bunkering hub.
The move is seen as advancing the competitiveness of Japan’s ports as a result of IMO’s regulations on ship emissions that will be strengthened in 2020.
Japan anticipates that the number of LNG fuelled ships will rise as a result of air emission regulations.
Yokohama is located on the Pacific side of the country and could serve as the first or last bunkering base in the Asian side of the Trance Pacific route.
The launch of an LNG-fuelled tugboat Sakigake in August 2015 has provided the local industry with LNG bunkering experience. The Port of Yokohama has two LNG terminals, Negishi and Ogijima, and in the Tokyo Bay area, there are another five.
The study outlines a road map for the development of LNG bunkering at Yokohama, which includes three phases:
• Optimization of existing truck to ship LNG bunkering which became operational in November 2016
• The introduction of ship to ship LNG bunkering using Sodegaura LNG terminal in Tokyo Bay to supply bunkering ships
• The introduction of a new LNG supply system and second bunkering ship at Yokohama.
The study was completed through a steering committee which included government agencies, NYK Line, Tokyo Gas and others.
Japan is the world's leading importer of LNG and has existing infrastructure including the world's largest LNG carrier fleet and a large number of LNG terminals close to ports.
The feasibility study is available here.