Japan Waives Port Fees for LNG and Hydrogen Ships to Reduce Emissions

Japan port fee waiver for alternative marine fuels
Tokyo will be participating in the fee waiver program (file photo)

Published Mar 29, 2021 6:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

In an effort to position Japan as a leader in the next generation of environmentally-friendly vessels and meet the country's goals for lower emissions, the ports in the Tokyo municipal region are implementing an incentive for vessels that use alternative fuels. 

Starting April 1, 2021, and running for the next five years, port entry fees are being waived for all vessels that use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as their fuel as well as ships with dual-fuel engines that are running on low sulfur fuel. To further position the region as an LNG-port, the initiative also includes a fee waiver for LNG bunkering vessels.  

Japan completed its first-ship-to-ship LNG fueling in October 2020. Recently, Tokyo Bay’s first LNG bunker ship was commissioned.

The incentives are being offered at the ports of Yokohama, Kawasaki, and Tokyo. Among the types of vessels that are expected to take advantage of the unique program are the new LNG-fueled car carriers. It also extends to coastal vessels accessing the ports. Currently, a coastal vessel larger than 700 gross tons is required to pay a port entry fee while smaller vessels are exempt from the fees.

Also focusing on the next generation of marine fuels, the authorities announced that the fee waiver program will be extended to include the still developing hydrogen fuel sector. This includes ships using hydrogen fuel cells. The fee waiver for hydrogen-fueled ships will also run for five years. At this time, however, the program is not being extended to other experimental technologies including ammonia as a maritime fuel.

The Japanese government has been moving forward with a range of programs all designed to support the country’s 2050 goals for decarbonization. The government has been backing research and development efforts for hydrogen-fueled ships, the first of which are under development currently. The government is encouraging ports to also undertake zero-emission initiatives of which this seen as one example to support the shipping industry.