CMA CGM to deploy six new LNG ships on US-Asia trade

  • Fleet of six 15,000-TEU containerships will be largest container vessels powered by LNG to call the US
  • First vessel to be delivered in October 2021, and all ships to be fully operational by the end of 2022 
  • Part of CMA CGM’s offering to American customers to reduce their environmental impact with the use of LNG
  • CMA CGM aims for carbon neutrality by 2050

Global container shipping and logistics group CMA CGM announced it will deploy six new 15,000-TEU liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered containerships to the US market, the largest box ships powered by such fuel to call the US.

The move is part of the French ocean carrier’s ongoing efforts to improve air quality and accelerate the energy transition of the shipping industry, said group chairman and CEO Rodolphe Saadé in a February 25 statement.

The first of these new vessels will be delivered in October 2021, and all ships will be fully operational by the end of 2022. The six 15,000-TEU vessels will be deployed on CMA CGM’s Pearl River Express (PRX) line, which sails from China to the Port of Los Angeles.

“The deployment of 6 LNG-powered containerships of 15,000-TEU will go along with the development of the US economy in a sustainable manner. It is a strong signal in favor of the environment,” said Saadé.

CMA CGM said the six vessels will give American customers the choice to transport their goods using LNG, a new technology that helps to preserve air quality by eliminating almost all atmospheric pollutants.

CMA CGM group is currently operating 12 LNG-powered containerships, a fleet that will grow to 32 containerships of various sizes by 2022. This technology is one of the first steps towards achieving the group’s ambitious 2050 objective of carbon neutrality, the company said.

In November 2017, the carrier placed an order for nine 23,000-TEU vessels with an LNG power supply, a first in the history of the shipping industry for vessels of this size.

In March 2019, it placed an order for ten 15,000-TEU ships, five to be powered by LNG and five to be fitted with hybrid scrubbers, for delivery in 2021. Later that year, in September 2019, the carrier launched the first of the nine 23,000-TEU LNG-powered ship ordered two years previously.

LNG is currently the state-of-the-art industry solution for preserving air quality. It delivers a reduction of 99% in sulfur dioxide, 91% in particulate matter emissions and 92% in nitrogen oxide emissions, far surpassing the requirements of current regulations. LNG also provides an initial response to the challenge of tackling climate change. An LNG-powered vessel emits up to 20% less CO2 than fuel-powered systems.

Photo courtesy of CMA CGM