French shipping line CMA CGM begins new era for European LNG bunkering

Tuesday, 17 November 2020
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Marseille-based firm starts fuel operations in Rotterdam for its growing LNG-fueled fleet


LNG News Editor

The bunkering programme has started in the port of Rotterdam for France-based container group CMA CGM with its first vessel, one of 26 the Marseilles shipping line has ordered, being refuelled after arriving on its maiden voyage from Asia.

The CMA CGM group programme to operate a new class of LNG-powered vessels is now well underway with the “CMA CGM Jacques Saade” receiving fuel on November 12.

Key role
The Port of Rotterdam will play a key role in refuelling the LNG-powered fleet, which will operate regular services between Asia and Europe.

Following a record order for nine 23,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit containerships, including the “CMA CGM Jacques Saade” and the recently delivered “CMA CGM Champs Elysees”, the group now operates seven LNG-powered containerships and will have a fleet of 26 containerships of various sizes by 2022.

“The energy transition has well and truly started at CMA CGM,” said Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive of the shipping line.

“”Our flagship is powered using liquefied natural gas and by 2022, our LNG-powered fleet will be 26 strong,” he added.

“Through this initiative we are directly addressing the environmental challenges we are faced with,” explained Saadé, son of the late head of CMA CGM after whom the newly-bunkered vessel is named.

“As well as being reliable, LNG is the best available technology for significantly improving air quality and contributing towards tackling global warming,” added Saadé.

In November 2017, CMA CGM made the decision to order the first nine Ultra Large containerships with an LNG power supply, a first in the history of the shipping industry for vessels of this size.

“This pioneering fleet is the product of seven years of research and development efforts. It will operate on the Group’s iconic French Asia Line connecting Asia with Europe,” said CMA CGM.

“The line provides a weekly service comprising 13 calls over 84 days. These nine vessels will be registered on the International French Register (RIF),” it added.

The vessels of the 23,000 TEU first series are 400 metres in length, 61m wide, 78m tall and with a 16m draught.

“The LNG tank is a key part of these vessels. Its 18,600 cubic metres of stainless steel evokes a truly industrial cathedral with exceptional volumes,” said CMA CGM.

The bunkering vessel in the Rotterdam operation, the “Gas Agility”, is currently the largest in the LNG fuel sector. CMA CGM has a contract with French energy major Total for LNG bunkering for its container fleet.

The “Gas Agility” is owned by Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines and chartered to Total.

The “Gas Agility” has a capacity of 18,600 cubic metres and is equipped with a GTT Mark III Flex membrane tank.

The Japanese shipping line has chartered the ship to Total’s affiliate, Total Marine Fuels Global Solutions.

The Total unit and MOL signed the Charter Party for the “Gas Agility” before construction began in November 2018 at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding’s yard near Shanghai in China.

The bunkering ship was delivered in April 2020 and meets the highest technical and environmental standards, using LNG herself as propulsion fuel, and integrating a complete re-liquefaction of the boil-off gas.

The ship will serve in the northwest Europe market for ship-to-ship LNG bunkering.

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