The Port of Yokohama has been active in promoting LNG as a marine fuel, initially to eliminate SOx emissions, and then to reduce GHG emissions, and currently, paying more attention to its bridging role towards decarbonization of maritime transport. As early as in 2015, the port has welcomed the first LNG fueled tugboat “Sakigake” and accommodated its truck-to-ship bunkering operation.
As the next step, the port is currently focusing on launching the successful commercial operation of ship-to-ship LNG bunkering in Yokohama as well as in the surrounding Tokyo Bay area. Since 2016, under the leadership of YKIP (Yokohama Kawasaki International Port corporation), the Port of Yokohama has moved into the second phase in terms of LNG bunkering development, by setting up a joint venture, named Ecobunker Shipping, with Sumitomo Corporation and Uyeno Transtech in November 2018. This project is also supported by the national fund of Japan, as a pioneer project to encourage more adoption of cleaner marine fuel, and currently working on establishing new rules and regulations regarding the safe and reliable LNG bunkering operation in Japan, while the bunkering vessel, Eco Bunker Tokyo Bay, is being built. The service will be launched later this year (2021), which will strongly send out a message to the shipowners and shipping lines that the supporting infrastructure is ready in Yokohama and Tokyo Bay, and encourage them to convert to, or choose LNG powered vessel when replacing their old ones.
Furthermore, counting on the experience and knowledge we are accumulating here in Yokohama through playing the front runner role in launching LNG bunkering in Japan, the port is also looking at experimenting other types of cleaner energy, especially hydrogen, taking into account its great possibility as the next generation fuel towards decarbonization of maritime transport. In 2016, the City of Yokohama has already experimented “H2One”, a stand-alone Hydrogen-based energy supply system in Yokohama Port Cargo Center, or has procured Fuel-Cell Vehicle for the corporate car of the port authority, installing the hydrogen fuel stations in the port area. Port of Yokohama will also be the host to a national funded demonstration project for the commercialization of high-power Fuel Cell (FC) vessels powered by hydrogen fuel, started by a private consortium in September 2020, which the pilot operation of the FC vessel along the coast of Yokohama port is scheduled to begin in 2024. More and more project of this kind will come since Yokohama and Kawasaki has been selected in Dec 2020 as one of the 6 port areas in Japan studying the concept of ‘carbon neutral port’ under the initiative of the national government.