Truck-to-Ship bunkering best option for emerging economies

cma cgm LNG certificate

Emerging economies should look to Truck-to-Ship (TTS) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering in order to meet international carbon net-zero goals, an industry body Chair has told PTI.

Peter Keller, Chairman at SEA-LNG, the multi-sector coalition advocating greater use of LNG, told PTI in an extended interview the growth in demand for LNG is a result of shipowners “starting to embrace” the need for environmental change to meet Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions targets for 2030 and beyond.

On 2 February, SEA-LNG announced its latest report on the “fundamental binary choice” facing ship owners, arguing that it is better to invest in LNG now, than wait for developing renewables and suffer the environmental consequences that it may bring.

“We know that ship owners generally are very conservative,” Keller said. “In the long term, I think all ship owners are starting to understand that these environmental considerations which came from IMO 2020, and now the targets for 2030, 2050 and beyond are real.

“We are going to have to deal with them and look for the best solutions.”

Despite the prodigious growth of LNG bunkering facilities at ports in North America and Europe, in emerging economies such as Latin America and Africa, bunkering facilities remains low.

Keller argues a confluence of factors are at play here, including financing. “I always tell ports: you don’t need to spend $25 or $30 million to spend that money to build a or bunker vessel for day one,” Keller explained.

Whilst Ship-to-Ship bunkering facilities may be a more feasible option for major deep-sea shipping firms, for the smaller and intermediate reports in lower-traffic economies TTS LNG bunkering is cheap, easy, and no different from current bunkering methods with mineral fuels.

“It doesn’t cost a lot of money to get in. Once you’re in, then it’s like any other bunkering capability,” Keller said.

“That’s how you start, minimal investment and minimal dollars going out. Then, when you develop some expertise, you develop a following, then you look at building a bunker bar or a bumper vessel, depending on the technical realities.”

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