Prerequisites for the increased use of natural gas as a future fuel for shipping have been discussed at a symposium in Karlshamn as a part of the MarTech LNG project (an EU financed project).
LNG is a more environmentally friendly option than the current available petroleum products.
Huge investments are required in ports to handle the natural gas.
Seven ports in the Baltic Sea region have already said that they plan to start investing: Aarhus, Copenhagen / Malmö, Helsingborg, Stockholm, Turku, Helsinki and Tallinn, with several other ports considering options as well.
The problem is the high economic threshold, however, natural gas is much more efficient than for example the oil-based LPG and very effective and above all cleaner than the oil.
But in the MarTech LNG project, the initiative aims at more than mere planning of facilities. There is a great demand for training in ports, such as creating value in Karlshamn, says Lawrence Henesey who works at Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) with just ports facilities and logistics.
A running question throughout the conference on the East Pier was how to get started with working partnerships between ports and authorities.
Presently there is not a great number of LNG ships (approximately 1% of the World’s fleet).
The current situation suggests that in about six years there will be a demand for 1,000 LNG powered vessels, and for five times as many a decade later.
June 24, 2014; Image: BPO