CMA CGM, Shanghai Port complete China’s first simultaneous LNG bunkering and cargo unloading operation

Shanghai’s Yangshan Port recently made its debut of ship-to-container liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering with simultaneous cargo unloading, a first among Chinese ports.

The fueling operation was under a long-term agreement with France’s CMA CGM Group and is part of China’s efforts to enhance the competitive position of the world’s largest container port to meet the needs of the new generation of large container ships.

The vessel, deployed on the PRX line connecting China and the US, was refueled with LNG on 15 March at Yangshan Port.

Haigang Weilai, a new 20,000 m3 LNG bunker barge deployed by Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), provided CMA CGM SYMI with LNG by means of a ship-to-ship transfer, while the containership carried out cargo operations simultaneously (SIMOPS).

According to the agreement signed between CMA CGM and SIPG in January, starting at the end of the first quarter of 2022, and for a duration of 10 years, SIPG will provide SIMOPS LNG bunkering service for CMA CGM’s vessels sailing from China to the US at Yangshan Port, the first of its kind in China.

Since 2017, CMA CGM has chosen to invest in dual-fuel vessels that run on LNG, avoiding up to 99 per cent of atmospheric pollutant emissions.

LNG-powered vessels are an important first step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the engine installed on these vessels is capable of, and already is, using BioLNG (reducing 67 per cent of CO₂ emissions).

In the coming years, those engines will use synthetic methane (including e-methane). The CMA CGM Group’s “e-methane ready” fleet consists of 26 vessels already in service and a total of 44 vessels by the end of 2024.

Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group said, “With the completion of this joint project, our group is the first shipping line to bunker LNG in China, and the first to offer full LNG-fueled container service between China and the US West Coast.”

“By expanding the network of world-class ports offering LNG services, this bunkering marks an important step in the energy transition.”

Gu Jinshan, Chairman of SIPG added, “The Shanghai port’s implementation of bonded LNG bunkering for ships on international voyages has been highly valued by the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee and Municipal Government, and has received strong support from relevant departments.”

“With the joint efforts of SIPG and CMA CGM, the first bunkering of bonded LNG for ships on international voyages in Shanghai Port was successfully completed today, which is also a first in China.”

“It is of great significance to creating a world-class business environment, improving Shanghai’s port service functions, and enhancing the comprehensive competitiveness of Shanghai as an international shipping center.”

According to Shanghai port officials, establishing the new bunker service was part of their efforts to improve port services and enhance the overall competitiveness of the port. They noted that they have been implementing other green initiatives including a transition from heavy fuel to diesel and providing cold ironing capabilities. They also highlighted the fact that the introduction of LNG bunkering for international vessels places the port on par with Singapore and Rotterdam as large international container ports with LNG fueling capabilities. 

CMA CGM entered into a 10-year agreement with the port of Shanghai to provide LNG fueling for the line’s vessels. The new CMA CGM Symi is sailing between China and the United States and is part of the carrier’s plans to introduce 44 LNG and e-methanol ready vessels by the end of 2024. They currently have 24 of these new vessels in service.

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