International marine fuels group Baseblue, created through the merger of three bunker players, aims to hone in on green shipping as part of the growing push to decarbonize the industry, executives said on Tuesday.
Shipping, which transports around 90% of world trade and accounts for nearly 3% of the world's CO2 emissions, is under growing pressure from environmentalists to deliver more concrete action including a carbon levy.
Baseblue, which will have offices in Greece, Argentina, Cyprus, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands, has been formed through an agreement between European companies BMS United Bunkers, Bunkernet, and SBI.
"This is a merger of equals," the new group's chief commercial officer Gregoris Gregoriou told reporters at the company's online launch.
"The use of fossils fuels is slowly coming to an end and the focus is now shifting to alternative fuels, decarbonisation and identifying what the future marine fuel mix will be."
The industry has been testing a number of cleaner fuel options, including ammonia and methanol, as well as trialling wind sails in an effort to look for new solutions away from dirtier bunker fuel.
"We have this green fuels transition and decarbonisation and it is very important for us to have expertise and be at the forefront of that," Baseblue's chief executive Lars Nielsen said, adding that the new group had equity of about $50 million "with financing facilities for a couple of hundred million more".
Patrick Benink, a leading trader with the group, said they were looking into supplying cleaner bunker solutions such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), also known as green diesel, "if the availability is there".
"What is going to be the right fuel of the future - that is something I don’t think anyone can answer at this stage," he added.
(Reuters - Reporting by Jonathan Saul; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)