World First: LNG to Fuel Largest Containerships
The move to LNG as fuel in the maritime sector picks up steam, as CMA CGM announced plans to outfit nine of its new 22,000 TEU containerships with LNG fueled engines.
A trend that started in the United States is spreading to the world, as global containershipping giant CMA CGM announced its intention to outfit its series of new 22,000 TEU containerships with LNG-fueled engines. The move to ‘clean fuel’ in the maritime sector has been rapid, spurred by new rules from the International Maritime Organization set to enter force in 2020 which drastically reduces the amount of allowable sulfur in marine fuel. As ship owners mull options, the move by CMA CGM is a watershed moment in the large containership sector.
“We have made the bold decision to equip our future 22,000 TEUs vessels with a technology firmly focused on the protection of the environment,” said Rodolphe Saadé, CMA CGM Group CEO. “By choosing LNG, CMA CGM confirms its ambition to be a leading force in the industry in environmental protection by being a pioneer in innovative and eco-responsible technologies.”
History in the Making
TOTE Maritime made history when it ordered a pair of LNG-fueled containerships, the world’s first, which were built and delivered by General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego. The ships, Isla Bella and Perla Del Caribe were delivered as a part of a two-ship contract signed in December 2012 with TOTE, making the 764-foot long Marlin Class containerships will be the largest dry cargo ships powered by LNG.
The announcement from CMA CGM is significant as these will be the largest ships in the sector to sport the new technology.
In recent years the maritime industry has been in the crosshairs of environmental regulators focused on reducing emissions from ships at sea. In kind, the maritime industry has looked for new and emerging technologies, from fuel ‘scrubbers’ to the use of alternative fuels. The use of LNG has emerged as an early favorite, as compared to heavy fuel oil it offers:
-- up to 25% less CO2
-- 99% less sulphur emissions
-- 99% less fine particles
-- 85% less nitrogen oxides emissions
CMA CGM currently has 462 vessels calling on 420 ports on five continents, and it said that with LNG its Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) which measures a ship’s environmental footprint is improved by 20% compared to ships only propelled by fuel oil.
The move to LNG as fuel for ships of this size will require more than an investment in ships, also an investment – with port and LNG suppliers – in adapted infrastructure to support the initiative.
CMA CGM By the Numbers
Revenue $16 billion
Volume transported 15.6 million TEU/year
Company owned 166
Capacity 2.2 million TEU
Agencies, global 600
Ports of Call 420 in 160 countries