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X-Press Feeders Christens Methanol Ship Starting European Feeder Network

methanol fueled containership
Eco Maestro was christened in advance of the launch of the green feeder network (X-Press Feeders)

Published Jul 10, 2024 7:35 PM by The Maritime Executive


X-Press Feeders is preparing to launch operations on what it is billing as the first Northern European feeder network using methanol-fueled green ships.  The company anticipates strong demand and reports a positive reception timing the rollout to the launch of the EU’s emissions trading scheme and the 2025 regulations to begin cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The first vessel for the new service, Eco Maestro was christened in Rotterdam on July 9 in advance of the kickoff of the network. Built in China and delivered earlier this year, the ship has a capacity of 1,260 TEU. At 13,900 dwt and 485 feet (148 meters) in length, the ships were designed for efficiency including shaft generators, adjustable propellers, and suspended flap rudders with a speed of 14.5 knots. Designs for the class were developed by German naval architects TECHNOLOG Services

The ships use the MAN 5S50ME dual-fuel engine. They are capable of running on conventional fuel although X-Press Feeders plans to operate them on green methanol. The company has a supply agreement with OCI HyFuel and says the operation will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent.

“Today marks a significant milestone in sustainable shipping in Europe because companies here now have a regular scheduled network that can ship goods in a way that has less impact on the environment, helping companies to better achieve their sustainability goals,” says X-Press Feeders Chief Operating Officer, Francis Goh.

 

 

After the christening, the Eco Maestro is set to proceed to Antwerp and then launch its service into the Baltic. The company highlights that is a service provider to container operators and does not own its boxes. The network includes two routes with ports including Helsinki (Finland), Tallinn (Estonia), HaminKota (Finland), Klaipeda (Lithuania), Riga (Latvia), Antwerp, and Rotterdam. 

X-Press Feeder has ordered a total of 14 dual-fuel vessels being built in China. The second of the vessels Eco Marin recently departed Malaysia and a third Eco Umande just departed China bound for Singapore. This vessel was built methanol-ready but X-Press Feeders decided to refit it on delivery for methanol operations. Zhoushan Pacific also reported it was working on the second vessel outfitting for the conversion from methanol-ready to immediately capable 

The company said the second vessel will go into service for the feeder network during the current quarter with 14 ships will be delivered through mid-2025.

Maersk launched the first methanol-fueled feeder in the fall of 2023 in the Baltic, the Laura Maersk. The ship however is a one-off that is helping Maersk to develop its plans for methanol operations. Maersk continues to take delivery of its large, ocean-going methanol-capable containerships. Maersk has taken delivery of three of the 16,000 TEU vessels and announced plans for a naming ceremony and public visitation in Los Angeles for the fourth ship scheduled for the end of August. Maersk has ordered 20 additional methanol-enabled vessels and is beginning the first conversion of one of its in-service vessels to be capable of operating on methanol.