CMA CGM is joining the dots to give France global leadership when it comes to using LNG as a fuel for ships. The Marseille-headquartered container shipping giant ordered nine LNG-powered 22,000 teu ships in China earlier this year – a world first that then saw the French prime minister last month demand the nation up its game in the provision of LNG as a ship fuel. France will modify regulations on LNG to allow refuelling to take place at ports, and consider changing fiscal rules on amortising investments in new ships or engine technology, the nation’s prime minister Edouard Philippe said in a speech to a maritime conference in Le Havre two weeks ago.
“We have to use this (energy) transition to differentiate ourselves on the market – in transport and in port services,” Philippe said. “We want French ports to be equipped (…) with LNG installations and also the capacity to electrically charge ships.”
Now CMA CGM has taken the next step in its transition to gas, signing an agreement with French energy giant Total to take around 300,000 tons of LNG a year for 10 years starting in 2020.
“This unprecedented volume in the history of LNG bunker will fuel CMA CGM’s nine newbuild container ships, scheduled for delivery beginning 2020 onwards,” CMA CGM said in a release.
“LNG is the fuel of the future for shipping,” commented Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of CMA CGM. “With this groundbreaking decision by the CMA CGM Group, the entire maritime industry will benefit from the new supply chains that will be created. CMA CGM is pursuing its expansion through a combination of growth, profitability and environmental responsibility. By combining the expertise of two French companies, each one leader in its field, we are consolidating France’s prominent role for a more sustainable transportation and in favor of the energy transition.”
“CMA CGM’s decision to adopt LNG propulsion for its new build container ships sends a strong signal to the maritime world,” stated Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total.
Under the agreement, Total will provide a tailor-made solution for LNG supply. The group is currently considering chartering on long-term basis a LNG bunkering vessel that would not only deliver fuel to CMA CGM in Europe, but also to other customers in the same region.