On May 13, 2014 Mitsubishi Corporation, GDF SUEZ and NYK signed a framework agreement aiming to develop the LNG bunkering market worldwide, in the context of international regulations that seek to reduce the impact of shipping activities on the global environment.
This partnership now resulted in two concrete contracts: a joint order of an LNG bunkering vessel, the world’s first LNG bunkering vessel with the aim of providing LNG to LNG-fueled vessels; and also an LNG bunkering contract between GDF SUEZ and United European Car Carries (UECC), one of Zeebrugge’s leading provider of short sea transportation.
The operation at Zeebrugge will make use of a large scale LNG bunkering vessel with a capacity of 5,100 m³, the first of its kind in the world to go into full-scale operations. The vessel will supply and sell/deliver LNG to LNG-fueled vessels operating mainly in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. This LNG supply and sales business will initially be targeted at LNG-fueled car carriers operated by United European Car Carriers (UECC), the first client to make use of the bunkering vessel’s services. In a second stage the business will target other LNG-fueled vessels operating in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
About 50 LNG-fueled vessels are already in operation in northern Europe, most of which are ferry boats and cruise ships. The partnership’s new LNG bunkering vessel will be designed specifically for the bunkering of LNG-powered cargo vessels, which is a first.
The Zeebrugge port authority is involved in the elaboration of different kinds of small scale LNG projects connected to the port in one way or another. They have offered the partnership full cooperation in the realization of this project: executing risk analyses, investigating and adjusting the port regulation system for this new promising technology.