Siem Car Carriers built the 200-m Siem Confucius and Siem Aristotle in Xiamen, China, under contract for Volkswagen and launched the vessels on 15 November
Volkswagen said the new pair of vessels are the first overseas car freighters in the world to be powered by LNG. The ships will replace two of Volkswagen’s nine conventional heavy fuel oil-powered cargo ships currently used by Volkswagen Group Logistics on the Atlantic route between Europe and North America.
Volkswagen’s head of group logistics Thomas Zernechel said "The two new LNG ships represent an important building block for our strategic goal of climate-neutral logistics”. Volkswagen also uses LNG-powered trucks, green electricity on many of its rail transports and biofuel in the shortsea segment.
The two new ships are 200 m long, 38 m wide and carry cars on 13 decks with a capacity of 7,500 revenue tonnes. The vehicle transporters are powered by a 12,600 kW dual-fuel marine engine with direct injection and exhaust gas treatment from MAN Energy Solutions. They can also be operated on biogas.
Regarding the use of LNG on the vessels, MAN Energy Solutions chief executive Uwe Lauber said “We believe that the switch to LNG as marine fuel is the most important basis for a maritime energy revolution.”
In eco-speed mode, the ships can run at 16.5 knots. The ship’s two tanks each hold 1,800 m3 of LNG, and the transporters have similar vehicle capacities and ranges compared to conventional, diesel-powered ocean freighters.
Siem Confucius will begin service in January 2020 after its transfer from Asia to Europe. Siem Aristotle will start operations in spring 2020.
Each year, Volkswagen Group Logistics is responsible for 7,700 ship departures worldwide. In addition to the 2.8M new cars shipped annually, the company ships 250,000 container loads of assembly materials and spare parts.