CMA CGM is the first shipping company to choose natural gas for its biggest ships

CMA CGM’s new giant container vessels will be fuelled by natural gas. © CMA CGM

The move to natural gas as fuel in the shipping sector is speeding up
Bureau Veritas to class CMA CGM’s gas fuelled ultra-large containerships

On the occasion of the COP23 in Bonn (Germany), the CMA CGM Group is pleased to announce its decision to equip its 9 future ships of 22,000 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit), delivered in 2020, with engines using natural gas.

Rodolphe Saadé, CMA CGM Group CEO, stated: “We have made the bold decision to equip our future 22,000 TEUs vessels with a technology firmly focused on the protection of the environment. By choosing LNG, CMA CGM confirms its ambition to be a leading force in the industry in environmental protection by being a pioneer in innovative and eco-responsible technologies.”

CMA CGM is becoming the first shipping company in the world to equip giant containerships with this type of motorisation, thus pursuing its firm commitment to the protection of the environment and to ocean conservation.

A technological breakthrough for the environment

The use of natural gas is a real technological breakthrough that will yield significant benefits compared to heavy fuel oil:

  • up to 25% less CO2
  • 99% less sulphur emissions
  • 99% less fine particles
  • 85% less nitrogen oxides emissions

Moreover, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), which measures a ship’s environmental footprint, is improved by 20% compared to ships only propelled by fuel oil. These containerships will be gas-powered – a few percent of marine gas oil will only be used to ignite the gas in the combustion chamber.

By choosing natural gas, the CMA CGM Group goes beyond current and future regulations that limit the sulphur cap to 0.5% in 2020. The Group is also fully in line with the Paris Agreement and the ongoing discussions at the international level.

An innovative and ambitious group engaged in the protection of our planet

The CMA CGM Group is firmly committed to the reduction of its carbon footprint for the protection of the environment and the preservation of the oceans and biodiversity.

As the company says: “Between 2005 and 2015 we have reduced the CO2 emissions per container transported per kilometer by 50% and have set up an ambitious plan to further reduce the CO2 emissions by 30% between 2015 and 2025”.

The 22,000 TEU ships will be built under BV Classification

Bureau Veritas (BV) has been awarded the responsibility for classification of CMA CGM’s new 22,000 TEU containerships. The decision for the nine ships to be fuelled by natural gas (NG) has been carefully considered and Bureau Veritas has been closely involved in feasibility studies, working with the owner, builders and technology providers.

Philippe Donche-Gay, President, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, commenting today, said: “This is a breakthrough order for gas fuelled shipping – both in scale and in the use of a membrane containment system. Bureau Veritas has been supporting the project throughout, providing assistance to ensure the requirements for the safe use of LNG are addressed.”

The new ships will have a bunker capacity close to 18,000 cubic metres (cbm) of LNG and this represents a significantly higher volume than has been required in the LNG fuelled ship market. Bureau Veritas has investigated the feasibility of the design together with shipbuilding group China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and GTT, the containment system designer.

Jean-François Segretain, Bureau Veritas Marine Technical Director said: “As CMA CGM have said, they will be the first shipping company in the world to equip giant containerships with NG propulsion, pursuing a strong commitment to the protection of the environment and to ocean conservation. For us this is an exciting project to be involved in and our teams in China, supported by expertise in Paris, are looking forward to working on these innovative new ships.”

Says Segretain: “The award of class to Bureau Veritas further underlines Bureau Veritas leadership in the classification of NG-fuelled ships with, presently, the largest share of the orderbook for gas fuelled ships.”

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Dipl. -Ing. Peter Pospiech
Redaktionsleitung bei mit Schwerpunkt Schiffsbetriebstechnik, Transport, Logistik, Schiffahrt, Hafen und dem weitreichenden Thema Umweltschutz sowie gesetzliche Auflagen für Antriebsmaschinen.