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CMA CGM’s LNG strategy sees payback

Tue 04 Dec 2018 by Selwyn Parker

CMA CGM’s LNG strategy sees payback
CMA CGM’s Mathieu Girardin receives top award in Asia Pacific

The world’s third-largest container shipping company, CMA CGM, has earned industry plaudits including being named “most accomplished Asia Pacific shipowner for 2018” in late November, largely on the back of its commitment to LNG-powered ships.

The France-based group saw a substantial decrease in CO2 emissions per container as well as making headlines for its ground-breaking nine LNG-fuelled mega vessel order.

“We are proud to be the first shipping line in the world to equip its giant container ships with LNG-powered engines,” said CMA CGM’s vice-president in Asia, Mathieu Girardin. He was referring to an announcement by chief executive Rodolphe Saadé in early November that the line’s future 22,000-TEU vessels would be LNG-driven.

Designed with 18,000 m3 of storage for LNG fuel located directly under the wheelhouse where it will not reduce total cargo volume, the vessels will be built at three yards owned by China State Shipbuilding Corporation.

The decision follows a long period of research by CMA CGM which had been concerned about the availability of LNG. In 2018, the group signed contracts with two French firms, Engie and Total, to develop LNG bunkering around the world’s ports. In its memorandum of understanding with Total, CMA CGM expected the oil and gas group to provide LNG as well as fuel oil with a 0.5% sulphur content. The Marseille company is also involved in discussions with ports and other suppliers about a worldwide LNG bunkering infrastructure.

The massive order follows CMA CGM’s long-term commitment to cutting emissions. Between 2005 and 2015, CMA CGM reduced CO2 emissions per container transported by 50% and is aiming for a further 30% cut by 2025.

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