India’s LNG bunkering plans moving into top gear – IRClass


India’s LNG bunkering plans are on a “fast track” with LNG-fueled river sea vessels and LNG refueling stations likely to emerge in the coming months, Arun Sharma, executive chairman of Indian Register of Shipping, or IRClass, a Mumbai-based globally recognized ship classification society told S&P Global Platts Tuesday.

IRClass is working with Inland Waterways Authority of India on a number of projects with respect to design approval of LNG-fueled vessels, he said. “We are also working with Petronet for facilitating use of LNG kits on smaller vessels meant for inland waterways which transports cargo such as coal, cement, grain etc.,” Sharma added.

IRClass has a memorandum of understanding with Bureau Veritas in various areas of classification, LNG being one of these.

The emphasis on LNG comes at a time when the marine industry is gearing up for stricter environmental regulations. Promoting LNG in the country’s inland waterways would not only result in lower cost per ton mile transported compared with other options such as road and rail but would also be significantly more environment friendly, Sharma said.


In terms of geographical footprint, presently IRClass has 48 offices, 24 of which are outside India. “We are aggressively targeting further growth both domestically and internationally,” Sharma said.

“We have on a base of 10 million GRT [gross register tonnage] in January 2015, added about 1 million GRT in 2015, and another 1 million in 2016. As of June 2017, our tonnage stands close to 13 million tons with over 17,000 ships. We are looking at about 15 million tons by early 2018,” Sharma said.

IRClass, which became a full member of the International Association of Classification Societies in 2010 and was recognized by the European Commission in 2016, is presently seeking recognition from the Singapore flag, and flags of Malta, Greece and Cyprus, Sharma said.

“In Europe, we will need to move in a more strategic manner targeting smaller owners and tonnage. Quality of service and cost competitiveness is our main focus,” Sharma said.

However, IRClass also wants to expand its non-marine segment with a view to diversify in segments other than marine because of tough market conditions. “Shipping markets have become challenging. There is not too much new build taking place either,” Sharma said, adding that this was prompting more competition among classification societies with some even resorting to fee cuts to retain market share.

“But some correction will have to take place sooner or later.”

IRClass also provides services in classifying ship breaking yards in India and Bangladesh. “We ventured in this area about a year and half ago, our main focus being certifying compliance with Hong Kong Convention and verifying compliance as an independent verifier for European Commission,” Sharma said.

IRClass has also been undertaking surveys in Qatar. “In the current situation, we will handle Qatar from our India office instead of Dubai till [the] situation normalizes,” he said.

This comes after a major diplomatic crisis erupted in the Middle East last week, when five countries — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen — decided to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Source: Platts

Source from :