COLOMBO : On Tuesday Niv.21, the Ceylon Italy Blue Economy Association (CIBEA) unveiled its pioneering strategy to contribute to decarbonizing maritime transport in the Indian Ocean, with a steadfast commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Sri Lanka and Italy, both nations with rich maritime traditions, are uniquely positioned to lead the transition to a greener maritime future. Our ultimate goal is to champion the development of a Hydrogen Value Chain in Sri Lanka, focusing on bunkering and transshipment of green fuels in the region and beyond, centered in Trincomalee Port, in collaboration with an Italian-led international Consortium open to partnerships with local and global investors,” said Mr. Vittorio Coco, CIBEA’s President and Director of Hitechrome Pvt. Ltd.
Coco emphasized, “Sri Lanka’s strategic location along major shipping routes features the unparalleled deep-water natural port of Trincomalee, poised to become the central hub for green bunkering and the transshipment of green fuels across the entire Indian Ocean Rim.”
He added, “Italy, recognized as a global leader in clean energy technologies, has a rich history of successful industrial clusters, serving as a source of cutting-edge solutions in different sectors. Italy’s expertise and innovation in EU-funded Hydrogen Valleys projects could be leveraged as a blueprint for similar initiatives in the field of hydrogen, methanol, and ammonia production in Sri Lanka.”
“In the face of the global climate crisis, the maritime industry has been identified as a significant contributor to carbon emissions from ships and ports. Therefore, we envision the building of a Hydrogen Value Chain in Sri Lanka, mitigating GHGs (Greenhouse Gases) impact by developing the Port of Trincomalee as a Hub for Green Fuels Bunkering and Green Fuels Transshipment. Here is our suggested roadmap to the future developer of the project,” Mr. Coco explained.
- Establish a Hydrogen Value Chain: Create a dedicated hydrogen value chain within the port, covering production, storage, distribution, and bunkering facilities. This involves attracting investments in hydrogen production plants, cryogenic storage tanks, and hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
- Collaborate with International Partners: Foster partnerships with leading hydrogen technology companies, research institutions, and port operators globally. This collaboration would facilitate knowledge sharing, technology transfer, and access to international expertise in hydrogen handling and transshipment.
- Develop Regulatory Framework: Establish a comprehensive regulatory framework addressing safety standards, environmental protection measures, and quality control procedures to ensure the safe and responsible handling of hydrogen.
- Upgrade Port Infrastructure: Enhance existing port infrastructure to accommodate hydrogen transshipment operations. This may include deepening berths, modifying pipelines, and installing specialized bunkering facilities.
- Attract Shipping Lines: Encourage shipping lines to adopt hydrogen-fueled vessels and incorporate Trincomalee into their routes. This could involve offering incentives such as reduced port fees or preferential berthing arrangements.
- Promote Knowledge Sharing and Training: Provide training programs for port personnel, local communities, and stakeholders to enhance their understanding of hydrogen safety, handling procedures, and the environmental benefits of this clean fuel.
- Establish a Hydrogen Innovation Hub: Create a hydrogen innovation hub within the port to foster research and development activities related to hydrogen production, storage, transportation, and utilization.
- Explore Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Options: Investigate the feasibility of implementing CCS technologies to capture and store carbon emissions from hydrogen production facilities, further enhancing the environmental sustainability of the port’s hydrogen operations.
CIBEA’s visionary approach to enlarge on a global scale this Road Map also involves the creation of a network of Green Corridors adopting Trincomalee Port as a vital node. A Green Shipping Corridor is a dedicated and strategically planned route for maritime transportation, designed in collaboration with stakeholders such as shipping companies, port authorities, environmental organizations, certification organizations and governmental bodies.
This corridor prioritizes the adoption of green technologies and practices, aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping activities. It serves as a platform for collective efforts to create a more sustainable and eco-conscious pathway in the shipping industry, aligning with the interests and commitments of diverse stakeholders.
According to Mr. Coco, the primary focus of CIBEA is on establishing a green corridor linking Genoa, Italy, to Singapore via Port of Neom (Saudi Arabia), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Trincomalee, potentially partnering with world-renowned groups such as Lloyd’s Register and Bureau Veritas.
Two additional corridors are being explored:
- Durban (South Africa) – Mauritius – Maldives – Galle – Trincomalee – Singapore
- Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) – Maldives – Hambantota – Trincomalee – Kra Isthmus Landbridge (Thailand)
Simultaneously, the Northern Corridor of the India-Middle East-Europe Corridor (IMEC) has emerged as a multimodal transportation route connecting the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with Europe, a key element in the broader IMEC initiative aimed at fostering economic ties and cooperation between India, the Middle East, and Europe.
The significant development in this context is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Governments of India, UAE, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the United States (US), and the European Union (EU) during the G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 10, 2023.
Keeping due attention on the evolution of geopolitics and the hydrogen diplomacy in the IMEC, Mr. Vittorio Coco, a retired former civil servant from the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry and currently a Senior Strategic Partnerships Advisor on Blue Economy in the Maldives, suggested in conclusion that “hubs” like Trincomalee and Abu Dhabi could be networked together and developed infrastructurally, aiming to creating a synergistic convergence between the IMEC Northern Corridor, from the UAE to Europe, and the Green Corridor, from Genoa to Singapore via Trincomalee.
With regard to the implementation of the Green Corridor Genoa-Singapore initiative, Mr. Coco confirmed that CIBEA is already collaborating with various stakeholders, including the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the University of Genoa, Italy, the University of Moratuwa, and receiving positive feedback from the Office of the Minister of Ports and from the Presidential Office of Sri Lanka.
Preliminary steps are underway to formulate technical and economic feasibility studies in 2024, with the aim of attracting global investors. The University of Genoa will send a mission of economic experts to Sri Lanka in January 2024, followed by a technology mission in the first quarter of 2024. Investors are expected to make their final decisions by the end of 2024.
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