LNG-fuelled fleet growth stipulates expansion of LNG Bunker fleet

15 Feb LNG-fuelled fleet growth stipulates expansion of LNG Bunker fleet

A rapidly expanding global fleet of LNG-fuelled ships, particularly in the container, tanker and cruise sectors, is underpinning continued growth in the LNG bunker vessel market, and LNG demand.

Following on from record ordering in 2021 that saw 240 LNG-fuelled vessels contracted at shipyards, DNV  reports 40 more gas- powered vessels were added to the DNV Alternative Fuels database in January.  DNV now puts the fleet numbers at 694 gas-powered ships in operation and under construction, with the 213 LNG-ready ships for a total fleet of 907.  Record-setting LNG-fuelled tonnage last year added 3 mta of LNG demand. This demand is being met by an increasingly larger LNG bunkering fleet.

A spate of newbuildings geared to alternative marine fuels are dominating early shipbuilding orders for 2022, new figures suggest.  Citing data from shipbroker Clarksons, Tradewinds reported that more than 80% of the newbuildings (on a deadweight tonnage basis) contracted in January can burn alternative fuels. Among the orders in January were 34 container ships, of which 15 are liquefied natural gas dual-fuel designs, Clarksons said.

One of the newest LNGBV, the TotalEnergies-chartered Gas Vitality, is stationed in Marseille, one of the busiest ports and cruise terminals in the Mediterranean. The LNG bunker vessel loaded 6.000 m3 of LNG into the 15,000-TEU CMA CGM Bali in January, marking the first ship-to-container ship refuelling at the Port of Marseille Fos in January. The fifth LNGBV in the Mediterranean and first in southern France, Gas Vitality, performed the refuelling operation at the Eurofos container terminal while CMA CGM Bali was being reloaded with cargo. Such simultaneous operations (SIMOPS) – refuelling while transferring cargo – are becoming more commonplace as the market matures.

Italy’s Fratelli Cosulich Group will add to future LNG bunkering capacity in the Mediterranean when it commissions its first LNGBV in 2023. Being built at China’s Nantong CIMC SOE shipyard, the vessel is primed to serve a multi-fuel market, with a capacity of 8,200 m3 of LNG and 500 m3 of marine gasoil.

Source: CYGNUS ENERGY and Ship & Bunker