CMA CGM’s new LNG-fuelled mega-box ships could cost as much as US$20M more per unit than MSC’s 22,000 TEU conventionally-fuelled vessels, a top analyst has said.
BRL Consultants chief executive Barry Luthwaite told Container Shipping & Trade “A major consideration is the price factor which can yield a cost gap of US$20M between a conventionally fuelled ship with an 11 or 12-cylinder diesel engine of US$140M and an LNG-powered vessel which may cost as high as US$160 million. This is likely to be the price differential over rival MSC which has ordered 11 similar size units in South Korea.”
Mr Luthwaite said that MSC is said to have opted for conventional power after “due consideration over LNG but with long lead times before delivery, nothing is absolutely certain at this stage”.
Other container ship operators could follow CMA CGM as while it is not initially a cheaper fuel, in the long term it offers greater cost savings. “This could sway several of the big box ship owners were it not for doubts over infrastructure in ports,” said Mr Luthwaite.
To counter this, CMA CGM has joined forces with French oil group Total along with Shell and Engie in studying bids for a contract to supply bunkering fuel to the vessels. Total is already negotiating construction of an 18,000 m3 LNG bunkering vessel with Chinese and South Korean builders.
Shell and Engie already have LNG bunker fuel tankers in position in Rotterdam and Zeebrugge with license to serve the big dual-fuel vessels of all categories.