Siem introduces world’s first LNG-powered PCTC

Thursday, 13 August 2020
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Shipping line Siem has introduced the first transatlantic car freighter powered by LNG, delivering its first cargo on behalf of Volkwagen Group.

The Siem Confucious made its maiden shipment of vehicles from Europe to North America marking the world’s first voyage by an LNG-fuelled Pure Car Truck Carrier (PCTC).

"We are proud to put the world's first LNG vehicle transporter of this size into service. This is an important part of our decarbonisation strategy," Thomas Zernechel, Head of Volkswagen Group Logistics, said.


The Confucious set sail from Emden in the northwest of Germany bound for Veracruz in Mexico and is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions for the shipment by up to 25 percent and sulphur oxide emissions by up to 100 percent.

“By 2025, in accordance with the environmental mission statement "goTOzero", the company aims to reduce its total net CO2 emissions by 30 percent and be CO2-neutral in 2050. All transports - by water, road and rail - must be climate-friendly to achieve this,” Zernechel added.

The innovative vessel features 13 car decks and a capacity to hold 7,500 Car Equivalent Units (CEU). This equates to around 4,800 vehicles in the Volkswagen Group model, with a mix from passenger cars to light commercial vehicles.

12,600 kW dual-fuel engines

A sister vessel, the Siem Aristotle, is expected to join the Confucius imminently. Both ships measure 200 metres in length and 38 metres in width and are powered by 12,600 kW dual-fuel marine engines with direct injection and exhaust gas after treatment from MAN Energy Solutions.

“In eco-speed mode they travel at a speed of 16.5 knots. The two tanks in each ship, each holding 1,800 cubic metres, are sufficient to cover the entire distance with the fuel stowed in Europe. In addition to liquid, deep-frozen natural gas, the car carriers could also be operated with biogas or E-gas from regenerative sources,” a spokesperson for VW said.

Based in Kristiansand, Norway’s southernmost city, Siem Shipping specializes in reefer, bulk and roll-on/roll-off sea carriage. 

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