CMA CGM has opened up about its plans to fuel its 22,000 TEU newbuilds with LNG and its drive to develop the bunkering infrastructure needed.
Its groundbreaking move is likely to pave the way for other box ship operators to follow.
France-based GTT is to supply the 18,600 mᶾ fuel tanks. These will enable a complete voyage from China to Europe before refuelling. The fact that this is possible will surely make other container ship owners mull over the possibility of LNG for ultra-large container ships.
The ships – which will be on the Asia-Europe route – will have the tanks located under the front arrangements. The upper deck will be used as the LNG management and control centre.
The vessels will only use a few per cent of marine gas oil for ignition in the combustion chamber.
CMA CGM is building partnerships with ports and LNG suppliers to create a strong bunkering infrastructure – something that will encourage other box ship operators and allow them to choose LNG.
The French carrier said it was currently working with its partners towards an operational, regulatory and technical framework that will allow its ships to receive LNG without disrupting commercial operations. It said it was committed to the development of an LNG infrastructure, in particular the development of large bunker barges and of a competitive commercial offer in the ports where the group’s ships call.
It has also 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.
Are the floodgates going to open for other box ship LNG deals? It looks like this is a strongly growing trend. Just this week MAN Diesel & Turbo revealed that it had signed a letter of intent with Wessels Reederei to supply the materials to convert three 1,000 TEU container vessels to operate using LNG fuel.
The deal follows MAN’s pivotal role in engineering the world’s first conversion of a container ship’s propulsion system from heavy fuel oil to LNG with Wessels Reederei’s Wes Amelie.