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France hopes to Develop Green and Digital Shipping Corridor with Singapore: French Maritime Chief

FRANCE hopes to develop a green and digital shipping corridor with Singapore, as part of cooperation on maritime sustainability, digitalisation and cybersecurity, said Eric Banel, France’s director general for maritime affairs, fisheries and aquaculture.

Such corridors reduce the carbon footprint of ships which ply them, by using technologies ranging from cleaner fuels to automated clearance. Singapore has begun to establish such corridors with five countries including Australia, China and Japan.

“What I can see is that both countries are very interested (in maritime decarbonisation) and are developing their own capacity of expertise,” he said in an interview with The Business Times.

Banel, who is here to attend the Singapore Maritime Week, said the primary aim of his visit is to enhance cooperation between both countries.

He added that he has met representatives from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore to discuss issues such as decarbonisation.

Sustainability is a shared priority more broadly, with the launch of the French-Singapore Joint Year of Sustainability last week during Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong’s visit to Paris, noted Banel.

“Enhancing cooperation in the maritime sector means that we have to work together in our fields of expertise,” he said of both countries.

In sustainability, one such area is the adoption of cleaner marine fuels such as ammonia, methanol and hydrogen.

Both countries already have expertise here, and are going further to ensure safety, technical readiness and the supply of such fuels, he said.

“We are both working with lots of advanced technology, but also with a lot of reflection on how we should care about the equipment in the ports and how to prevent the risks.”

He cited the example of ammonia, which is a promising zero-carbon fuel but also potentially dangerous as it is corrosive and toxic. “How do we prevent the risks linked to working with ammonia? We have the capacity both in Singapore and France to work on this issue.”

Besides decarbonisation, both countries are keen on “new kinds of maritime activities”, with digitalisation – a major theme of Singapore Maritime Week – being part of this, he added.

This involves finding new technologies to promote new approaches to shipping, he said.

Cybersecurity is another area where cooperation could be fruitful, as both countries have “strong expertise to put together”, said Banel, adding that the field is more important now as potential digital threats have increased.

“The second reason for my visit here is really to achieve neutral carbon shipping, to achieve this evolution and to create the basis for the future of shipping,” he said, referring to the International Maritime Organization’s new zero-carbon strategy.

“It’s not only technologies, not only new fuels, not only what I have mentioned, but it’s also acting together on a day-to-day basis, especially at the international level.”

Finally, the third aspect of his visit is to prepare for the United Nations Ocean Conference, which France is co-hosting with Costa Rica in 2025.

The event is about ocean protection, and also enhancing cooperation between states – and France wants to “rely on strong maritime nations” such as Singapore, he added.

SOURCE: The Business Times


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