On Thursday 2nd February, Peninsula supported the Gibraltar Port Authority and the Government of Gibraltar in their first Gibraltar Maritime Day in London. Peninsula was the Platinum Sponsor of the event and our COO, Kenny Maclean, spoke on the bunkering panel, which was hosted by the Captain of the Port, John Ghio.
The panel publicised the proactive relationship between the Gibraltar Government, Port Authority and the private sector, which secures Gibraltar’s status as the pre-eminent bunker hub in the Mediterranean. This combination of robust governance combined with professional operators extends across all Gibraltar’s maritime services.
The panel covered post IMO-2020 and pandemic impact, commenting that Gibraltar dealt with these events competently and efficiently. When asked about the future impact of the Mediterranean ECA (Emissions Control Area), the message was clear; Gibraltar bunker suppliers are supportive of the changes and stand ready to continue supplying all required products, no matter how the demand mix changes. Given the broad, global nature of Peninsula’s sourcing platform, customers in the audience were assured that suitable products will be available to ensure they can meet the 0.1% limit.
Discussions progressed to discuss transition and alternative fuel options. The panel considered that a tighter regulatory environment such as CII, EEXI, ETS etc. are a stimulus for adoption of lower carbon options. One of the fuels that Peninsula sees having an immediate benefit is LNG. The arrival of our first LNGBV in the Med this summer will be a big step forward for Gibraltar and the surrounding region. Spain has excellent LNG supply infrastructure and the broader Med market, including Gibraltar, should be at the forefront of connecting these ‘last mile logistics’ to the shipping world. Peninsula is leading this project to fruition and hopes to begin supplying LNG around September 2023. We introduced alternative fuel experts to the business 2 years ago to help educate Peninsula’s workforce and to execute our lower emissions business planning. As with IMO2020, a lot of internal preparation work is required to enable a seamless launch to occur.
Gibraltar may be a small jurisdiction, but it ‘punches well above its weight’ in the global maritime market. Relationships between the Government, the GPA and private industry is critical in ensuring this continues. Peninsula will continue to engage with all key stakeholders to ensure that Gibraltar maintains its marine energy prominence. The audience learned that, whilst not all solutions will be available everywhere, Gibraltar’s strategic location, excellent infrastructure and robust regulatory environment means that it will be a key port within a global ‘Green Energy Corridor’. This will determine availability of the green fuels of the future.
Another worldwide challenge is Port infrastructure. The investment needed to meet future fuel demand is much more likely to flow to economically and politically stable markets, like Gibraltar, where, once again, the close cooperation between private and government sectors will set the conditions for continued success.
Every potential alternative fuel has its own operational challenges that we, as suppliers, need to overcome in order to help customers meet their decarbonisation goals. However, we must place safety at the heart of our strategy. In this regard, Gibraltar can point to its strong regulatory regime, combined with the high-quality suppliers operating in its waters, to provide the necessary comfort and assurances to the global shipping industry.