BHP issues tender for world’s first LNG–fuelled iron ore freighter

Thursday, 01 August 2019
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Mining giant BHP has launched a tender for the construction of the world’s first LNG-powered iron ore freight vessel.

The proposed vessel will have capacity to transport up to 27 million tonnes of iron ore, making it one of the most powerful LNG-fuelled vessels in operation.

“Through this tender, we are seeking potential partners who share our ambition of lowering emissions to the maritime supply chain,” Rashpal Bhatti, Vice President of Maritime and Supply Chain Excellence at BHP, explained.

Busiest bulk transport route

The proposed ship will be deployed along “the busiest bulk transport route globally” and is expected to significantly cut CO2 emissions while all but eliminating nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions.

“We recognise we have a stewardship role, working with our customers, suppliers and others to influence emissions reductions across the full life cycle of our products,” Bhatti commented.

The addition of LNG in BHP’s distribution supply chain is expected to tackle a “material source” of emissions, with the firm aiming to ramp up usage across its fleet and carry up to ten per cent of its iron ore via LNG-fuelled transport.

“While LNG may not be the sustainable homogenous fuel of choice for a zero carbon future, we are not prepared to wait for a 100% compliant solution if we know that, together with our partners, we can make significant progress now,” Bhatti added.

Select group of tenders

The new tender will be open to “a select group” of industry leaders, including ship owners, banks and LNG fuel network providers. The group is also soliciting bids for altenrative solutions that “can lower greenhouse gas emissions and increase productivity”.

“This new tender adds to the work BHP is doing with customers, suppliers and parties along our value chain to influence emissions reductions from the transport and use of our products,” Mr Bhatti said, adding that the firm was “fully supportive of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) decision to impose lower limits on sulphur levels in marine fuels”.

The initiative is part of a global strategy by the group to builds the resilience of communities, strengthen policy and encourage market response to the physical impacts of climate change. 

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