Latvian Port of Riga has begun servicing LNG-powered container vessels as it recently welcomed Containerships Polar, a newbuild delivered to Containerships earlier this year.
It is planned that the first two 100% LNG-fueled vessels, Containerships Polar and Containerships Nord, owned by the subsidiary of CMA CGM, will arrive at the Port of Riga three times per week.
In addition, a third LNG vessel is expected to join them in the autumn.
The Port of Riga said it has thus made a large step towards its goal of becoming a green port and reducing the environmental impact of its operations. As the new LNG vessels are one of the largest containerships that make regular stops at the Port of Riga, it is expected that the volume of container cargo will also increase.
Use of LNG for shipping purposes has become increasingly popular in the world since it contributes to the reduction of global carbon emissions and alleviates air pollution. Burning of natural gas does not result in the emission of any harmful particles like smoke or soot, which is the worst type of air pollution. It also does not result in harmful sulphur oxide emissions, as unlike other fuels, natural gas contains only negligible amounts of sulphur oxide, which is the main component of smog.
“Some European markets shipments of Containerships customers are already delivered by LNG powered vehicles. Together with the first LNG-powered container vessels, they will form a complete cycle of green logistics. In the nearest future, we also plan to introduce an LNG car fleet in Latvia, reducing the environmental impact and shifting towards 100% green logistics,” Kristaps Jakovļevs, the manager of Containerships in Latvia and Estonia, pointed out.
Mārtiņš Ziemanis, Deputy CEO of the Freeport of Riga, explained that regular servicing of LNG vessels at the Port of Riga is in line with global trends and development plans of the port.
“One of our development priorities requires use of environmentally-friendly technologies, and the other – significant increase in the number of handled containers. The development programme adopted last year sets an ambitious goal: increasing the volume of container cargo to 1 million handled TEU units per year in 10 years.”
“As this volume keeps growing annually, we believe that this goal is achievable. During the first six months of this year, we managed to achieve record-high turnover by handling 238.2 TEU units, which is 5.6 % more than a year ago,” Ziemanis said.
Separately, the Port of Riga informed that its Baltic Container Terminal has signed a memorandum of cooperation with China Merchants Group. The parties intend to promote container cargo transportation between China’s industrial park Great Stone and Baltic Container Terminal.