The three companies, Uyeno, Sumitomo, and Yokohama-Kawasaki International Port (YKIP), inked a MoU in March 2018, to conduct a joint study on LNG bunkering services for ships based on the ship-to-ship (STS) transfer model in Tokyo Bay.

Inadequate LNG bunkering infrastructure is a main reason that Japan and the rest of Asia are behind, as Europe and the US are adopting LNG as marine fuel.

As such, the trio will form a joint venture to own and operate a LNG bunkering vessel in the area and commence a STS operation in 2020.

In pursuit of promoting cleaner marine energy for the future, with little forecast of local demand in sight, YKIP believes that this challenge requires to ally and justifies to receive the governmental aid from national fund. Through tremendous efforts made and progressive initiatives taken by the trio to achieve the prior investment for future such government decision was finally made.

...YKIP said in an official statement.

A study released by the International Transport Forum earlier in 2018 suggested that Japan could become global LNG bunkering hub. The analysis also confirmed the strategic importance for Japan to invest in LNG bunkering facilities in anticipation of the 0.5% global sulphur cap.