Construction Advances on New CMA CGM LNG Boxships in China

containership construction
The third ship of the new LNG class containership was floated from the construction dry dock (Hudong Zhonghua)

Published Sep 22, 2023 1:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

China’s Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group is preparing for the delivery of a new class of LNG-fueled containerships for CMA CGM, marking the second class of dual-fuel containerships built by the yard for the French carrier. According to the shipbuilder, when the ships are completed, they will become the largest dual-fuel containerships operating on the South American route.

The third ship of the class was floated from the dry dock on September 20. The yard is building a total of six ships of the class, each with a capacity of 13,200 TEU and part of a more than $2 billion order placed by CMA CGM in 2021. Delivery is due to begin before the end of this year.

Hudong Zhonghua notes that the new ships incorporate several advancements in their design from the pioneering 23,000 TEU ships previously delivered to CMA CGM. The new ships are 1,102 feet in length with a 167-foot beam and will be 145,650 dwt. The vessels have the characteristics of flexible container loading to maximize their operating efficiency as well as an energy-saving propulsion plant and design. 

Notable among the design features is that the ships incorporate the bow windshield that CMA CGM began testing this year. More aerodynamic and curved in its shape, the windshield rises higher creating more airflow around the boxes. CMA CGM reported it spent more than six months developing and installing the prototype on some of its in-service vessels.

The new ships also sport the green livery of the larger LNG-fueled ships. According to the shipyard, these new ships adopt the Mark III liquid cargo containment system and are equipped with 14,000 cubic meter LNG tanks.  The ship’s main engine has been upgraded and employs a new generation Controlled Exhaust Gas Recirculation system, which can reduce methane slip by up to half while in gas mode and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 28 percent.

The shipyard also adopted new construction techniques to shorten the docking cycle in the construction process. The LNG tank section is being built simultaneously in a second dock and floated and joined in a complex process to the stern section which is being built in a second dry dock.

The first of the six ships, CMA CGM Bahia was floated from the dry dock on May 15. The yard reports it has recently completed regular sea trials, while the second ship is outfitting. The third, which will be CMA CGM Paraty, was floated out this week while construction in the dry dock is underway on the fourth ship.  Dock work for the fifth ship is due to begin on September 25 while steel cutting for the sixth ship began in May 2023.

These ships continue CMA CGM’s more than $10 billion investment into LNG ships to advance the company’s green efforts. They already have 32 LNG-fueled ships in service and with current orders will have a total of 77 green ships in service when they are all delivered. They also recently ordered their first six vessels to operate on methanol which are expected to start entering service in late 2026.