South Korea’s Incheon Port Authority (IPA) has reported fuel savings of up to 24% from its LNG-powered vessel Econuri.
According to the IPA’s calculation, over a journey of 1,643 kilometers Econuri costs about US$10,900 in LNG fuel costs as compared to US$24,700 for traditional fuels. The vessel is operated by the IPA and was first introduced in July 2013.
"In preparation for the increase of LNG fuel… We will continue to prepare for the LNG bunkering industry,” an IPA spokesperson commented, adding that “the development plan for LNG bunkering facilities in Singapore and the review of Japan's LNG fuel business for ships” were current areas of interest.
The small port vessel weighs 200 tonnes and measures 38 meters in height and 8 meters in width. It can accommodate up to 57 passengers with a cruising speed of speed of 27.7 kilometers per hour.
The Econuri has so far carried more than 9,000 people for 395 journeys and IPA therefore calculates significant cost savings.
The port is currently focused on a number of improvements to facilitate LNG bunkering including introduction of truck-to-ship LNG bunkering and safety measures such as the flow of seawater to prevent damage to other vessel designs.
“The Econuri features a Type-C LNG fuel tank that is relatively pressure-stable compared to rectangular tank type (square) fuel tanks,” a spokesperson for IPA explained.
South Korea invests in LNG bunkering future
Authorities in South Korea have to date a wide-range of intiatives to support the uptake of LNG-fuelled transport as a response to the decline of the country’s shipbuilding sector. Since 2012, the Korean shipbuilding sector has fallen from the number one spot globally and many of the largest firms are now on the brink of collapse.
South Korean utility Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas) is to invest US$9 million to develop LNG bunkering infrastructure at Tongyeong, in South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea and by the year 2025, the government aims to increase South Korean shipyards’ market share of newbuild LNG-powered vessels to 70 percent globally, from the current 60 percent.