It was added that MSC may have opted for a combination of compliant low-sulphur fuels and hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems in order to comply with the new limits, yet, at this time, LNG is not a viable option for MSC due the limited LNG bunkering facilities available at ports.

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Notably, a diverse range of solutions are required to enable the container shipping sector to meet low-carbon ambitions by 2050; big investments in research and development are needed to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.

The ambitious goal set by IMO to half the emissions by 2050 requires innovative solutions to meet the demand for alternative fuels, and to further develop low-carbon technologies to enhance ship design.

MSC adds that its fleet was greatly enhanced in recent years by a retrofitting program, by investing extensively in the latest low-carbon technologies, such as new energy; efficient propellers and bows to reduce fuel consumption and therefore improve energy efficiency, by continuously monitoring environmental performance and implementing a number of operational measures to further reduce CO2 emissions to meet new regulations and goals set by the IMO.

Whatsoever, in order to help mitigate the increased need for LNG in the maritime sector, the British Columbia government joined the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and FortisBC in October to create the first ship-to-ship LNG marine bunkering service on the west coast of North America.

The LNG Bunkering procedure

LNG Bunkering procedure involves two main players. The provider of fuel, who may be barge, track or shore installation, and the LNG powered ship itself. As per IMO requirements the bunker station has to be under specific construction requirements and air / ventilation condition. Additionally the hose used should be LNG rated in order to support the transfer.

There are four types of LNG bunkering:

  • Truck-to-Ship – TTS: LNG truck connected to the receiving ship on the quayside, using a flexible hose, assisted typically by a hose-handling manual cantilever crane.
  • Ship-to-Ship – STS:  LNG is delivered to the receiving vessels by another ship, boat or barge, moored alongside on the opposite side to the quay. LNG delivery hose is handled by the bunker
  • Terminal (Port)-to-Ship – PTS: LNG is either bunkered directly from a small storage unit (LNG tank) of LNG fuel, small station, or from an import or export terminal.
  • ISO Container-to-Ship: LNG can also be delivered to the receiving vessel by embarkation of ISO containerized LNG tanks. If the receiving vessel is pre fitted with LNG connections the fuel can then be used.

As of earlier this year, infrastructure for LNG bunkering could be found in

  • Europe: Rotterdam, Hammerfest, Barcelona
  • American continent: Montreal, Jacksonville, Port Fourchon (Louisiana), Panama (near Panama canal), Dominican Republic
  • Asia: Singapore, Kochi, Yokohama
  • Some semi operational terminals and such as Gibraltar, Dunkirk, Hamburg, Busan, Zhouzan