The ministry established a steering committee in June this year, comprising Tokyo Gas, NYK Line, Yokohama Kawasaki International Port, the city of Yokohama, Agency of Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Maritime Bureau, Ports and Harbours Bureau and Japan Coast Guard, to study the possibilities of developing an LNG bunkering hub at the port.

According to MLIT’s statement:

"Because the decision has been made by IMO (International Maritime Organization) that the international regulations on ship emissions will start strengthening in 2020, it is expected that the number of LNG fuelled ships with clean exhaust gas will rise. In order to respond to the spread of LNG fuelled ships, it is important to establish LNG bunkering Hubs at the ports in Japan and enhance their competitiveness,"

With the completion of seven meeting since June, the steering committee created a roadmap for the development of LNG bunkering infrastructure, consisting of three phases.

In phase one, that started with the release of the feasibility study, truck to ship bunkering operations need to be optimized. Phase two will see the start of ship-to-ship bunkering from 2020 either by using an LNG bunkering ship or a barge, while in the third phase the steering committee plans to strengthen the ship-to-ship bunkering once the demand reaches a certain scale.

''MLIT continue to work together with related government agencies and related private enterprises to promote LNG as a marine fuel.'' the statement concluded.