Containerships Conducts First LNG Bunkering

Containerships Nord
Containerships Nord

Published Jan 28, 2019 7:01 PM by The Maritime Executive

CMA CGM Group subsidiary Containerships conducted its first LNG bunkering on January 24 in the Port of Rotterdam.

The operation was performed by ship-to-ship transfer from Shell’s specialized LNG bunkering vessel Cardissa. 234 metric tons of LNG were bunkered onto Containerships Nord, the first LNG-powered vessel of the CMA CGM Group’s fleet. The 1,400-TEU vessel joined the CMA CGM Group’s fleet on December 12 and is the first of an order for four LNG-powered container ships. The 1,400 TEU vessel was built at Wenchong Shipyard, China, and three sister vessels are scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2019.

Containerships aims to create a complete, LNG based door-to-door supply chain in Europe with investment in both LNG-fueled ships and trucks. CMA CGM, is also committed to LNG-technology and has sublet Containerships Nord for its trade lanes. Collectively, the companies have 13 newbuilds powered by LNG on their order books to be delivered between 2018 and 2020. This includes CMA CGM's nine 22,000-TEU vessels on order with China State Shipbuilding Corporation. 

Between 2005 and 2015 CMA CGM reduced its CO2 emissions per container transported by 50 percent, but in just one year, in 2017, the Group reduced its CO2 emissions per container transported by 10 percent. In 2018, CMA CGM was among the top one percent of the most eco-responsible companies in the sector, according to the rating agency Ecovadis.

LNG bunker demand from the shipping sector is expected to be between 20 to 30 million tons annually by 2030, up from less than one million currently. Industry body SEA\LNG has highlighted the central role of LNG, not only in complying with the 2020 global sulfur cap, but for its potential to help achieve the IMO’s target for a 40 percent reduction in carbon intensity by 2030 and total emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050.

Earlier this month, SEA\LNG released an independent study revealing a strong investment case for LNG as a marine fuel in the container shipping market. The study, commissioned from independent simulation and analytics expert Opsiana, analyses the case of a newbuild 14,000 TEU container vessel operating on an Asia-US West Coast liner routing and compares six fuel pricing scenarios. The study indicates that LNG provides a greater ROI than alternative compliance solutions, including the installation of scrubbers, across five out of six of the fuel scenarios explored. 

LNG emits zero sulfur oxides (SOx) and virtually zero particulate matter (PM). Compared to existing heavy marine fuel oils, LNG emits 90 percent less nitrogen oxides (NOx). Through the use of best practices and appropriate technologies to minimize methane leakage, realistic reductions of GHG by 10-20 percent compared with conventional fuels can be achieved.

Bulk supply infrastructure for LNG already exists along the main shipping lanes, and LNG bunkering capacity is growing rapidly with at least 23 bunker vessels expected to be in service by 2020.