The 22,000-TEU-capacity vessels will be at the upper end of current containership size, placing them in the Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV) category. This makes them amongst the largest vessels to be powered by LNG in the world, creating new challenges for bunkering infrastructure.
“We have made the bold decision to equip our future with a technology firmly focused on the protection of the environment… 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,” Rodolphe Saadé, CMA CGM Group CEO, said.
Standards agency Bureau Veritas will provide classification for nine LNG-fuelled containerships currently under order from shipping line CMA CGM. Bureau Veritas has already been closely involved in feasibility studies for the new 22,000 TEU containerships, working with the owner, builders and technology providers through the development process.
Breakthrough for membrane containment systems
Initial feasibility studies were carried out by Bureau Veritas together with shipbuilding group China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and GTT, the containment system designer.
"This is a breakthrough order for gas fuelled shipping – both in scale and in the use of a membrane containment system. Bureau Veritas has been supporting the project throughout, providing assistance to ensure the requirements for the safe use of LNG are addressed,” Philippe Donche-Gay, President, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, said.
ULCV powers on to LNG
“As CMA CGM have said, they will be the first shipping company in the world to equip giant containerships with LNG propulsion, pursuing a strong commitment to the protection of the environment and to ocean conservation,” Jean-François Segretain, technical director at Bureau Veritas Marine, said.
To date the majority of LNG-fuelled vessel have been in the small to medium scale used in short sea journeys. The new CMA CGM ships however will have a bunker capacity close to 18,000 cubic metres (cbm) representing a step-change in volume.
“For us this is an exciting project to be involved in and our teams in China, supported by expertise in Paris, are looking forward to working on these innovative new ships,” Segretain added.