Industry Stakeholders Team Up to Develop LNG-Fuelled Ultra-Large Containerships

Image (c) Shutterstock
Image (c) Shutterstock

By Mike Schuler and Rob Almeida

In the wake of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Strategy for Sustainable Maritime Transport Systems, developed in part at the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, a group of industry stakeholders is teaming up to tackle some of the key principles and goals identified by IMO to ensure a sustainable maritime future.

Among the key principles, of course, is the focus on the energy supply and efficiency of some of the world’s largest ships.

At the Posidonia conference being held this week in Athens, Capital Ship Management Corporation (Capital) announced a new Joint Development Project with Lloyd’s Register and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) aimed at exploring the use of LNG as an alternative fuel to power a massive 14,000 TEU containership.

Shipping companies have been discussing the use of LNG on deep sea shipping trades now for the past few years, so what does this really mean?

In a phone call with Apostolos Poulovassilis, Regional Marine Manager EMEA for Lloyd’s Register, he notes that LR’s Global Marine Fuel Trends 2030 report released this year was a scenario-based overview of what the future looks like with regard to the use of LNG within the shipping industry, with the “Status Quo” scenario showing an 11 percent market share of the use of LNG on board merchant ships by 2030.  Capital Ship Management has recognized that ultra-large containerships may present an ideal platform to be powered by LNG fuel and are now working toward determining the technology specifications, costs, fuel performance and the potential safety implications.

Once these issues are considered, an investment decision can then be made in the future while taking into account the global marine fuel trends.

At the project launching ceremony this week, Evangelos Marinakis, Chairman of the Board of Capital Product Partners, notes that new technology and innovations within the shipping industry must be fully understood in order to drive “total corporate performance” which is a factor of fuel efficiency, crew comfort and workplace considerations, and environmental impact.

Lloyd’s Register, which will provide independent verification and risk analysis, views the project as the ‘cornerstone’ of a broader sustainability strategy and “a platform for innovation,” according to Poulovassilis.