CMA CGM launch alternative propulsion research initiative

The Jacques Saade (image courtesy CMA CGM)
The Jacques Saade (image courtesy CMA CGM)

At the French Maritime Economy Conference in Montpellier, CMA CGM CEO Rodolphe Saadé stressed his firm’s commitment to LNG as a marine fuel but left the door open to new propulsion technology.

“With the choice of liquefied natural gas, the CMA CGM Group is a pioneer in the energy transition of the maritime industry. To meet the challenges ahead, we must go even further and work together: maritime, air and land carriers, logisticians, energy companies and motorists, in Europe and around the world,” Saadé said.

To illustrate its position, CMA CGM released a new promotional video on the relative merits of LNG as a marine fuel. LNG virtually eliminates SOx and PM emissions and reduces NOx by 85 percent, with valuable compliance and health benefits. It also reduces local CO2 emissions from the ship by up to 30 percent, and it typically reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions (including methane) by a margin of six to 20 percent, depending upon the source of the estimate and the specifics of the vessel. At worst, according to a recent study by Imperial College London and the Sustainable Gas Institute, certain LNG-fueled ships may generate more well-to-wake greenhouse gas emissions than comparable HFO-fueled ships.

CMA CGM is the first ocean carrier to use LNG to power ultra-large container vessels. In order to supply LNG to a future fleet of 15,000 TEU ships on the Asia-Med route beginning in 2021, the company will use bunkering infrastructure at the port of Marseille-Fos, Saadé said Tuesday, supporting more jobs in the French LNG sector. CMA CGM’s first LNG-fueled megamax, the 23,000 TEU Jacques Saade, is due to make her debut port call at the port this coming June.

Saadé also called for a French research initiative focused on future marine fuels. A new partnership announced Tuesday between the French Maritime Cluster, the ADEME (French Environment & Energy Management Agency), Bureau Veritas and CMA CGM will evaluate available technologies and new developments in vessel propulsion. “With the support of the French President, France will launch a major global coalition for the energy of tomorrow,” he said.

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