Illustration of the Wallenius Marine ships under construction. Image courtesy CIMC Raffles

Volkswagen Signs Charters for Four More LNG-Powered Car Carriers

Mike Schuler
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July 15, 2021

Volkswagen Group has announced long-term charters for four additional LNG-powered car carriers.

The four new ships are planned to enter service by the end of 2023 and will serve the North American route between Emden, Germany and Veracruz, Mexico. On the return trip, the ships will transport new vehicles destined for Europe.

Volkswagen Group Logistics has signed exclusive long-term charters for the vessels with shipowners Wallenius Marine and SFL Corporation. The state-of-the-art ships, which will be being built in China, will have a capacity of around 7,000 CEU (car equivalent units) each, corresponding to between 4,400 and 4,700 vehicles. The ships will be powered by 13,300 kW dual-fuel engines from MAN Energy Solutions and, in eco-speed mode, will be able to travel at speeds of 15 to 16 knots (28 to 30 km/h).

The four ships will join two LNG-powered ships that began operating exclusively for Volkswagen Group in 2020. The addition of four more ships means six of the nine car carriers crossing the North Atlantic for Volkswagen will be powered by LNG.

The company says the use of LNG as a marine fuel will help reduce the ships’ “tank-to-wake” CO2 emissions by up to 25 percent. The use of LNG not only reduces CO2 emissions, but also cuts the emissions of nitrogen oxides by up to 30 percent, soot particles by up to 60 percent and sulfur oxides by as much as up to 100 percent.

“In line with the Group’s commitment to e-mobility and climate-neutral production, the LNG fleet used by Logistics represents a major contribution to making Volkswagen net carbon neutral by 2050,” says Simon Motter, Head of Volkswagen Group Logistics.

“With these four additional LNG ships, Group Logistics is continuing its commitment to climate protection and pursuing the strategy of low-emission sea transport that was decided in 2016. The new ships will also permit the use of non-fossil fuels in the future, thus reducing CO2 emissions even further. Our aim is to make all our transport operations – by water, road and rail – environmentally friendly, clearly demonstrating the Volkswagen Group’s pioneering role in climate-friendly logistics,” Motter said.

Chinese shipbuilder CIMC Raffles announced that it had won shipbuilding orders from Wallenius for up to six dual fuel LNG car carriers.

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