PORT of Melbourne, Maersk, ANL and Svitzer are among seven maritime and energy signatories to a memorandum of understanding that will explore the feasibility of establishing a green methanol bunkering hub at the port of Melbourne.

Stolthaven Terminals, HAMR Energy and ABEL Energy have also signed the MoU.

The signatories plan to examine a potential project that involves transporting green methanol from production sites in Bell Bay, Tasmania and Portland, Victoria to Port of Melbourne for storage and bunkering services.

The parties believe the MoU provides a starting point for collaboration to explore the elements of establishing a green methanol bunkering hub and to identify any challenges that would need to be addressed.

Port of Melbourne CEO Saul Cannon said decarbonisation of the maritime industry is gaining pace.

“As Australia’s largest container port with around 3000 ships visiting annually, it makes sense that we look at ways to work together with customers, service providers and producers to understand the needs of the market,” Mr Cannon said.

My Therese Blank, Maersk’s regional head of market for Oceania, said Australia needs to take a leadership role to enable the fuel transformation from fossil to green fuel.

“Maersk has already ordered container vessels that will be operated on green methanol, which is a proven solution for reducing the shipping industry’s carbon emissions and mitigating its impact on the environment,” she said.

ANL managing director Shane Walden said alternative energies are key to reducing carbon emissions throughout the supply chain.

“Green methanol presents another excellent opportunity for the shipping industry to decarbonise and we are supportive of the robust exploration of a bunkering hub such as this,” he said.

Svitzer global head of green ports Ivan Spanjic welcomed the MoU as an important step to driving greener shipping in Australia.

“It is through a partnership approach that we will best meet the future decarbonisation challenges facing the wider shipping industry,” he said.

Minister for ports and freight Melissa Horne said the Victorian Commercial Ports Strategy is helping drive what she claims is the biggest ports reform program in decades.  

“This announcement complements our work to protect the future of our commercial ports, which includes the Port of Melbourne as a hub for trade and to ensure it remains one of the biggest and best ports in the country,” Ms Horne said.

Minister for energy and resources Lily D’Ambrosio said Victoria has an ambitious decarbonisation agenda.

“This announcement is another example of how we’re leading the development of renewable and alternative fuels,” she said.

Stolthaven Terminals general manager Ben Serong said this is one of many projects the company supports to enable the transition to greener energy alternatives.

“The scope of activities involved under this MoU will evolve as the collaboration progresses and the parties develop a clearer understanding of how our respective expertise can be combined on this potential project,” he said.

Under the MoU, ABEL Energy would develop the project in Bell Bay and HAMR Energy would be responsible for the Portland component.

“HAMR Energy is developing a world-class green methanol facility in Portland, Victoria to accelerate shipping industry decarbonisation which will rely entirely on natural and renewable resources available in Australia,” HAMR Energy director and company secretary David Stribley said.

ABEL Energy CEO Michael van Baarle also welcomed the MoU.

“ABEL Energy’s first Australian green hydrogen and methanol project will be built at the port of Bell Bay, using Tasmania’s renewable hydro and wind-based power supply,” he said.