Latest schedule data from CMA CGM shows that the French ocean carrier plans to introduce the word’s first LNG-powered mainline container ships this month.
With the phase-in of the 14,812 teu CMA CGM TENERE and the 23,112 teu CMA CGM JACQUES SAADE into the OCEAN Alliance service NEU4 (aka FAL1), the Marseilles-based shipping line continues to build its lead when it comes to container ships with gas propulsion.
CMA CGM had already ventured into LNG in 2019, when its intra-Europe region- al subsidiary Containerships introduced the first of six gas-powered 1,380 teu vessels.
Next to CMA CGM, the Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), headed by Israeli shipping magnate Idan Ofer, has also committed to LNG propulsion.
With the CMA CGM TENERE and five more sister vessels for the French, EPS will become the first non-operating owner to support new propulsion technologies for large mainline container vessels.
CMA CGM’s pipeline of LNG-powered vessels comprises nine megamax units and eleven neo-maxi-panamax ships of around 15,000 teu. The CSSC-built megamaxes are designed to trade between Northern Europe and Asia, a route on which they will be supported by three conventionally- powered scrubber-fitted ships of 21,000 teu built in 2018.
They will ensure weekly departures on a twelve-week round trip. A dedicated LNG-bunker ship, recently completed in China, will supply the container carriers once per voyage at Rotterdam.
In addition to the North Europe service, CMA CGM is expected to de- ploy one full set of 15,000 teu LNG vessels on an Asia – Med Service. In addition to the North Europe service, CMA CGM is expected to deploy one full set of 15,000 teu LNG vessels on an Asia – Med Service.
This somewhat shorter route requires eleven ships to staff a weekly service and the fleet will consist of two series of different ships, built in South Korea (EPS charter tonnage) and China (CMA CGM owned tonnage). Bunkering is set to take place at Fos-sur-Mer in the north western Mediterranean.
Since the supply chain for LNG as a marine fuel is still in its infancy with further investments needed, the first of CMA CGM’s 15,000 teu vessels will also debut in the trade to Northern Europe until gas- bunkering options are available in the Med.