CMA CGM will deploy LNG-powered boxships on the transpacific

CMA CGM is to deploy six LNG-powered 15,000 teu ships on the transpacific, the largest gas-powered boxships to call in North America to date. The first of these new vessels will be delivered in October 2021, and all ships will be fully operational by the end of 2022, by which time the French liner will be operating 32 gas-powered ships, predominantly on the Asia-Europe tradelane.

CMA CGM is the carrier with the biggest investments in LNG-powered tonnage to date. It is now actively investigating bio-LNG possibilities in a bid to future proof its gas investments. CMA CGM is a founding member of the the Coalition for the Energy of the Future. Launched in France two years ago, other members include Airbus, Carrefour, ENGIE, Total and Wärtsilä. The coalition revealed this week it is working on developing carbon neutral liquefied natural gas.

Maybe LNG is not the technology of the future

The transpacific LNG-powered boxship announcement was made yesterday by Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of CMA CGM, while speaking at the opening session of the virtual TPM container conference organised by the Journal of Commerce.

“Maybe LNG is not the technology of the future,” Saadé conceded in the TPM session, adding that he felt that today it was important not to criticise LNG, it was more important, he said, to be taking action now.

Saadé discussed the importance of liner adaptability during the pandemic during his 30-minute Q&A as well as explaining his decision to grow the logistics side of the group’s business, which has recently seen the creation of an air cargo division with four freighter aircraft purchases.

“During Covid, we noticed the shortage of cargo airplanes,” Saadé said.

Splash will be bringing regular updates from TPM over the next week.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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