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LNG World Shipping

First LNG bunker station to open for inland waterway vessels on Rhine

Fri 05 Apr 2019 by John Snyder

First LNG bunker station to open for inland waterway vessels on Rhine
Initial LNG capacity at the bunker station will be 200 m3

Netherlands-based PitPoint.LNG will open the first shore-to-ship LNG bunkering facility in Germany on the Rhine River in the Port of Cologne in June 2019, making LNG available to inland shipping.

“This bunker station on the busiest waterway in Europe is an important milestone in the further expansion of the international LNG fuel-station infrastructure,” said PitPoint.LNG managing director Jan Willem Drijver.

Developed at a cost of between €2.5-3M (US$2.8-3.4M), the bunker facility will have a double-wall vacuum-insulated tank with a capacity of 200 m3, according to a PitPoint.LNG spokesperson. The bunkering facility was supported as part of the CEF project Breakthrough LNG Deployment in Inland Waterway Transport which is co-financed by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility.

As the first LNG bunkering station in Germany, permitting costs were “enormous” and local authorities had a number of questions regarding the facility, said a PitPoint.LNG spokesperson. One of those permits was issued last year under the German Emission Control Act that guarantees LNG as a fuel for shipping is safe.

Initially, the new facility will bunker inland waterway vessels, including dual-fuel barges chartered by Shell Western LNG under a long-term agreement with PitPoint.LNG. At the time of the signing, Shell general manager downstream LNG Lauran Wetemans said, “Together with the infrastructure developed in Rotterdam, this station will expand the availability of LNG fuel for customers on the Rhine – Europe’s key inland waterway.”

LNG-fuelled barges in the region are now typically supplied using tanker trucks. Opening this bunker station will make LNG available 24/7, with considerably shortened bunker times compared with truck-to-ship loading.

PitPoint.LNG is a joint venture of PitPoint Clean Fuels and Primagaz Nederlands, which is part of the SHV Energy group. As a result, PitPoint.LNG will have access to some of Europe's largest LNG terminals and a fleet of tanker trucks.

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