Project Forward said it is in talks with LNG giant Shell to work with the Anglo-Dutch multinational on assessing the options of supplying LNG-powered vessels and to investigate the bunker requirements for globally-trading bulk carriers, tankers and container vessels.
Led by Greek bulk carrier owner, Arista Shipping that has worked with ABS, Deltamarin, GTT and Wärtsilä, Project Forward has developed a “technically feasible and commercially viable design” for ocean going, deep sea vessels powered by LNG fuel. The design is also suitable for bulk carriers and tankers.
The widespread adoption of LNG in the marine sector has to overcome obstacles related to bunkering infrastructure. Even though LNG import terminals are available at many ports, the barges and infrastructure needed to undertake the bunkering operations are still at an early stage of development.
“Merchant shipping is under increased pressure of tight regulations on emissions from a range of sources and this will continue in future,” Arista Shipping Principal Alexander P Panagopulos said in a statement.
“LNG is a cleaner burning marine fuel for shipping which can help ship owners and operators to reduce emissions of CO2, sulphur, particulates and nitrogen oxides,” Panagopulos said.
Shell is already a pioneer in developing LNG bunkering infrastructure. One example is the Dutch Gate LNG terminal in the Port of Rotterdam, where Shell gained access to import and break bulk capacity allowing the company to supply LNG to marine and road transport customers in northwest Europe.
The design of Project Forward ensures a “very long sailing range on LNG, which can easily be adjusted to fit specific needs of each owner or trade pattern.”
As a result, it could be sufficient for LNG-fuelled vessels to bunker LNG at major ports only.
Arista Shipping says the establishment of bunkering locations needs to be concentrated in these major ports and the development accelerated in order to meet this emerging and rapidly expanding demand.
The Project Forward partners are working towards making the launch of its first LNG-fuelled bulk carrier within the next few years, the statement reads.