MSC Charters 11 LNG-Fueled Container Ships from EPS

cma cgm
Eastern Pacific has previously chartered LNG container ships to CMA CGM, including the CMA CGM Tenere, above (EPS file image)

Published May 17, 2021 5:25 PM by Ankur Kundu

While some shipping companies, including Maersk, have rejected LNG as the fuel to decrease the carbon footprint of the shipping industry, number-two ocean carrier MSC is making a bet on natural gas.

MSC is set to charter 11 LNG-fueled container ships from Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), with sources from both the companies confirming the news.

Becoming the latest company to back LNG despite it being a fossil fuel, Geneva-based MSC has joined the likes of CMA CGM, which has been a vocal proponent of LNG for ship propulsion. Søren Toft, the CEO of MSC, has previously said that "MSC continues to envisage a range of fuel solutions on the route to a to a zero-carbon future."

As the gap in the shipping industry widens between the proponents of LNG and those opposing it, MSC seems to have taken a gamble on the former. Hapag Lloyd and CMA CGM - as well as tonnage providers like Seaspan and EPS - have aggressively backed LNG.

In a statement to ShippingWatch, MSC said that “while the pathway for decarbonizing shipping is still unclear, with no new fuels available globally at scale to deploy across our fleet of 570 ships, this charter should help us to improve CO2 emissions performance.”

LNG is an increasingly popular alternative to bunker fuel, but the World Bank has recently suggested that investment in LNG is bound to be a “dead end” and would only contribute to slowing down the industry transition to low-carbon fuels. Maersk too has decided to opt out and endorse other modes of propulsion.