Authorities at the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands have opened a new dedicated berth for LNG bunker vessels.
Located at the Gate terminal in the north of the port area, the LNG breakbulk facility has been developed by tank storage specialist Royal Vopak and gas infrastructure company Gasunie. Construction of the new facilities began January 2015 and required modification of the terminal’s existing jetties and infrastructure to accommodate smaller vessels.
Gate terminal to supply 5,000 trucks per year
The Gate terminal is Rotterdam’s main LNG import site but was originally designed for large-scale LNG carriers only . It handles a throughput capacity of 12 billion cubic meters per annum (bcma), with further plans to extend this to 16 bcma in future.
As a result, the site’s owners had to carry out extensive upgrade work to make it ready for smaller LNG fuelling ships and trucks.
“Gate terminal has also introduced back loading services for a wide range of LNG vessels and has started loading LNG tank trucks and containers, with a total capacity of 5,000 trucks per year, to further support breakbulk market developments,” a spokesperson for Vopak said.
The official opening ceremony of the LNG bunkering berth was attended by the managing director of the terminal, Rolf Brouwer, Allard Castelein the CEO of Port of Rotterdam Authority (RPA), and David Wells, vice-president of Shell LNG Marketing & Trading.
Authorities announce LNG-fuelled dredging vessel
Shell LNG will be the main user of the site and has already completed first bunkering operations at the site via its chartered LNG tanker Coral Methane.
Taking advantage of the increased availability of LNG fuel, authorities also announced plans to launch a new LNG-powered dredging vessel at the port.
The vessel, Ecodelta, is currently under construction at the Barkmeijer shipyard in Friesland and will be delivered in 2018 on behalf of dredging firm Bagger & Aannemingsmaatschappij Van der Kamp.
The Zwolle-based dredging company has been contracted to handle dredging work in the port area and is responsible for keeping the port basins at the correct depth until 2023. The Ecodelta is expected to replace the 30-year-old dredging vessel Rijndelta in the longer term.
“The Port Authority encourages the handling of LNG at the Gate Terminal; LNG distribution options for inland shipping at Seinehaven; the development of training facilities and the adaptation of Dutch and international legislation. It also presents shipping companies with financial incentives to switch to LNG as a transport fuel,” a spokesperson for the RPA said.