The development of LNG bunkering facilities in North- European ports



Siyuan Wang and Professor Theo Notteboom, ITMMA, University of Antwerp, Belgium


As the schedule for the application of the strict sulphur limits (enacted by IMO from 2015) in the emission control areas (ECA) is fast approaching, ports not only find it their responsibility to quickly adapt to the upcoming emission regulations, but they also intend to rapidly respond to port users’ environmental needs for obtaining competitive advantage. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) as one of the attractive fuels for ships can help ports to achieve these goals. This contribution is based on our extensive study on the current development status of LNG bunkering facilities in North-European ports. All ports considered are located within the two European ECAs (The Baltic Sea and the North Sea). Eight ports are included in the study. These ports cover large worldclass gateway ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg and Bremen, and also four medium-sized to smaller ports like Zeebrugge, Gothenburg, Stockholm and Helsingborg (in Sweden). The eight ports all share the traditional ‘Hanseatic’ culture featuring municipal governance and their port authorities are either public or hybrid public/private. In addition, all eight ports operate according to the ‘landlord’ model while they intend to go beyond the traditional approach by adding more facilitating and coordinating roles. Although the selected ports all aim for an LNG-fuelled future, the development plans vary in line with different market expectations and operational conditions. The following sections briefly discuss LNG projects in the eight ports. Figure 1 illustrates the timeline of the LNG bunkering facilities planning in these ports.

Port of Antwerp

The LNG bunkering perspective started in 2011 when the port of Antwerp accepted the invitation to be the leading port for the LNG working group that forms part of the World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI) in an organisation of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH). The main objective of this working group is to standardise the port regulations governing LNG, evaluate the bunkering risk perimeters, and raise public awareness. At the end of 2012, the draft ‘truck-to-ship bunker checklist’ was submitted by the WPCI LNG working group. In December 2012, the first LNG bunkering was successfully operated at the port of Antwerp when the dual-fueled oil tanker Argonon was bunkered via truck. In August 2013, the port was granted a subsidy by the European Commission to build an LNG bunkering station for barges. In September 2013, after completing a public tendering procedure, the port of Antwerp appointed the gas ship owning company EXMAR as its strategic partner for building an LNG bunker ship aiming to realise ship-to-ship bunkering to sea going vessels by 2015. In a first development stage, the bunker vessel will load LNG from the nearby terminals in Zeebrugge or Rotterdam. If the market condition is promising, the port of Antwerp will further extend LNG facilities to on-shore storage tanks or even to a small liquefied plant in the future.

Port of Zeebrugge

The port of Zeebrugge has ..

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