Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) and Busan Port Corporation (BPC) signed a “Business Agreement for Establishment and Activation of the Busan Port LNG Bunkering System” on July 5 at the BPC headquarters. By doing so, KOGAS hopes to establish more concrete measures to build and revitalize the LNG bunkering infrastructure of Busan Port by establishing a cooperative relationship with BPC and LNG bunkering.
The event was attended by Chung Seung-il, president of Korea Gas Corporation, and Woo Yong-jong, president of Busan Port Corporation.
Through this agreement, the two companies will jointly conduct a feasibility study on the LNG bunkering business, which will supply LNG as a ship fuel to vessels entering Busan port, and complete the project in the first half of next year. The study will include a comprehensive review of the LNG bunkering system and business methods for Busan Port, including a Floating LNG Bunkering Terminal.
In the future, if the domestic fleet of vessels is gradually converted to LNG, it is envisaged that particulate matter from shipping will be majorly reduced. A research project by Korea Maritime Institute (KMI) in 2017 declared: “The air pollutants from ships are not managed in a systematic and efficient manner in Korea. As a result, major port cities show a high percentage of air pollutants emissions from non-road mobile sources in emissions of SOx, NOx, and PM10 which are produced highly by ships. This has led to the problems that cause a serious impact on the public health.”
An article published by The Korea Herald and citing KMI research, confirms the impact of vessel emissions: “the pollutants emitted from vessels are in the critical level. One container vessel is estimated to emit the same amount of sulfur oxide as 50 million diesel cars and as much fine particulate matter as 500,000 trucks. Out of the total sulfur oxide and fine particulate matter emitted in Busan, the nation’s largest port city, the pollutants emitted from vessels account for around 73 percent and 51 percent respectively, according to the government agency.”
Busan, the largest port in the Republic of Korea, is close to KOGAS’s Tongyeong LNG base with six major ports (in terms of freight volume in ’17) in the world, which is favorable for the development of the LNG bunkering business.
In addition, KOGAS has been promoting the conversion of port yard tractors to LNG fuel with the Busan Port Corporation and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs.
Two LNG-powered ships are known to be operating in domestic waters at present. The MAN ME-GI powered 50,000 dwt bulk carrier Green Iris, operated by Ilshin Logistics, undertook its first commercial voyage in January, transporting bulk limestone from Donghae. Incheon Port Authority runs the 200-ton Econuri. Launched in 2013, the vessel can accommodate up to 57 passengers with a cruising speed of speed of 27.7 kilometers per hour.