First EU Short-Sea Container Operator to Opt for LNG-Powered Ships

Containerships Ltd Oy, GNS Shipping/Nordic Hamburg, and ARKON Shipping confirmed to have ordered 2 two-plus-two, state-of-the-art, dual-fuel engine-technology container ships.

The new ships will feature innovative design elements for the European short-sea trade.

Containerships will be chartering the ships over the long term, the owner and technical manager will be GNS Shipping/Nordic Hamburg, while Arkon will be the commercial manager and the charter broker.

The ships, both of which will be delivered in the course of 2016, will use liquefied natural gas (LNG) but will also be able to burn conventional marine diesel oil/heavy fuel—hence the “dual-fuel engine-technology”label.

Containerships will thus be the first short-sea container operator in Europe to run ships on LNG. The new container ships will offer efficient and environmentally friendly option for transporting containers by sea,  exceeding environmental standards in the Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) in which Containerships operates.
There are three ways to ensure that sulphur emissions from ships operating in the European SECA do not exceed 0.1% m/m (the limit for sulphur emissions from 1 January 2015 on): use low-sulphur fuel oil, or higher-sulphur fuel together with abatement technology (scrubbers), or LNG.

According to a recent survey, most shipping lines operating in the SECA area will use gas oil when the SECA regulations come into force, but industry studies indicate that, in view of the significantly higher cost of fuel
oil, over time investments in LNG technology or Scrubber technology will predominate.

As explained by Containerships, LNG makes the best ecological sense: as it is the cleanest fossil fuel on the market. Burning it emits no sulphur or particulate matter. Using it in these new ships will also allow Containerships to reduce emissions of CO2, a greenhouse gas, by 25%, according to Gasum.
The new ships also include innovative features: they will offer the highest flexibility for 45-foot units among container ships operating in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Each ship will accommodate up to 639 units
of 45-foot containers and have a total capacity of 1,400 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

They will also be able to accommodate up to 300 refrigerated containers. Not only the main engine but also the generators will use dual-fuel technology, thus allowing for an eco-friendly way to generate the electricity
needed to run the ships and the above-mentioned refrigerated containers, for instance.

 CEO of Containerships, Kari-Pekka Laaksonen, said: “We are a short-sea operator that is in it for the long haul—and these state-of-the art ships are just one part of our long-term strategy. In addition to offering the most ecologically sustainable solution, the intake capacity of these ships will allow us to keep meeting growing customer demand. And we’re confident that both of our partners on this project have the know-how and the experience to deliver.”

Managing Director of GNS Shipping and Nordic Hamburg, Dr. Rowil Ponta, adds: “It is our investment strategy to focus on modern, economical and environmentally friendly ships and cooperate with
experienced charterers to develop our new building projects. These ships will be the new benchmark for the European feeder trades in terms of environmental and economical efficiency.”

ARKON Shipping’s Ole Gabs notes: “Every crisis creates opportunities. Today, after 100 years of using IFO fuel as the main product for running ship engines, and with the upcoming introduction of new SECA regulations, we are facing a paradigm shift.

“We are confident that this project is the right step at the right time. It has been developed in consultation with SMB Naval Architects, under the stewardship of Hans Karel Stam, with whom we have developed
other ships in the past,” he added.

Press Release, May 19, 2014

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