In this third of our four sector-specific guides to the world's LNG-fuelled tonnage, Mike Corkhill reports on shrinking interest from owners of container and dry bulk ships
The container and dry cargo ship segment is the smallest of the four vessel type categories into which the LNG World Shipping survey breaks down the in-service and on-order LNG-fuelled fleet. It also continues to suffer from a paucity of newbuilding activity, actually shrinking over the past year.
Although there are now 11 LNG-fuelled container and dry cargo ships in service, following the completion of three further vessels during the 12-month period, the orderbook has fallen by a third, from 21 to 14 ships. Besides the three deliveries and the absence of any new orders to compensate, two container ship newbuilding contracts were cancelled and two were confirmed to be LNG-ready, rather than LNG-fuelled vessels.
The cancellations were prompted by a Containerships decision to switch shipbuilders from the originally nominated yard. Containerships has also reduced its order from six 1,400 TEU container ships to four.
The pair of LNG-powered box ships at the Aker Philadelphia yard for Matson Navigation that we featured in last year's listing have been deleted, as they are being built as LNG-ready vessels.
Despite the hiatus of the past year, the container ship segment will undoubtedly grow in the years ahead, as evidenced by the current United Arab Shipping Co (UASC) newbuilding programme of 17 LNG-ready ships, comprising six 18,800 TEU vessels and 11 of 15,000 TEU. Elsewhere, CMA CGM has stated it will also opt for LNG fuel when specifying its next generation of large box ships.
Upgrading the LNG-ready capability of the UASC ships to run on gas will happen when the necessary bunkering infrastructure is in place, expected within three years. The transformation will create the most LNG fuel-intensive vessels afloat.
UASC, in co-operation with Qatargas and Shell, is exploring LNG bunker supply options at a Middle East location, halfway along the vessels’ Asia-Europe trade lane. The shipowner has also opted for LNG bunker tanks built to the IHI-SPB design for installation on its LNG-ready box ships at the appropriate time, due not least to the optimised space utilisation and zero sloshing damage risk advantages of the concept.
Two of the vessels in the container and dry cargo ship category entering service this year are Auto Eco and Auto Energy, the world’s first LNG-powered pure car and truck carriers (PCTCs). The Finnish/Swedish ice class 1A Super pair were built for United European Car Carriers (UECC), an NYK/Wallenius Lines joint venture, by the NACKS yard in China.
Each PCTC can transport 3,800 vehicles on 10 decks and about 20 per cent of the revenue-earning space, or 6,000m2, is able to accommodate high and heavy cargo with a maximum cargo unit weight of 160 tonnes.
The two UECC ships are fuelled by means of ship-to-ship transfers from the recently delivered 5,000m3 Engie Zeebrugge, the world's first purpose-built LNG bunkering vessel.
Each UECC vessel is powered by a single eight-cylinder, high-pressure, two-stroke MAN gas-injection engine. Each ship's 760m3 LNG bunker tank enables 14-day roundtrip voyages running solely on gas.
LNG-fuelled container and dry cargo ships, March 2017
|STATUS||SHIP NAME||SHIP TYPE||DELIVERY DATE||OWNER||SHIPBUILDER||ENGINE||PROPULSION||CLASS SOCIETY|
|1||In service||Høydal||Fishfeed carrier||2012||Nordnorsk Shipping||Tersan||Rolls-Royce||Gas||DNV GL|
|2||Eidsvaag Pioneer||Fishfeed carrier||2013||Eidsvaag||STX OSV Aukra||Rolls-Royce||Gas||DNV GL|
|3||With Harvest||Fishfeed carrier||2014||Egil Uvan||Fiskerstrand||Rolls-Royce||Gas||DNV GL|
|4||With Marine||Fishfeed carrier||2014||Egil Uvan||Fiskerstrand||Rolls-Royce||Gas||DNV GL|
|5||Kvitbjørn||Container ro-ro||2015||NorLines||Tsuji Heavy Jiangsu||Rolls-Royce||Gas||DNV GL|
|6||Kvitnos||Container ro-ro||2015||NorLines||Tsuji Heavy Jiangsu||Rolls-Royce||Gas||DNV GL|
|7||Isla Bella||Container ship||2015||TOTE||NASSCO||MAN||HPLSDF||ABS|
|8||Perla del Caribe||Container ship||2016||TOTE||NASSCO||MAN||HPLSDF||ABS|
|9||Searoad Mersey II||Ro-ro cargo||2016||SeaRoad||Flensburger||MaK||DF||DNV GL|
|10||Auto Eco||Car carrier||2016||UECC||NACKS||MAN||HPLSDF||LR|
|11||Auto Energy||Car carrier||2016||UECC||NACKS||MAN||HPLSDF||LR|
|1||On order||Wes Amelie*||Container ship||2017||Wessels||German Dry Docks||MAN||DF||BV|
|2||Taino||Container ship||2017||Crowley Maritime||VT Halter Marine||MAN||HPLSDF||DNV GL|
|3||El Coqui||Container ship||2017||Crowley Maritime||VT Halter Marine||MAN||HPLSDF||DNV GL|
|4||unnamed||Container ship||2017||Brodosplit Shipping||Brodosplit||MAN||HPLSDF||DNV GL|
|5||unnamed||Container ship||2018||Brodosplit Shipping||Brodosplit||MAN||HPLSDF||DNV GL|
|6||unnamed||Container ship||2018||Brodosplit Shipping||Brodosplit||MAN||HPLSDF||DNV GL|
|7||unnamed||Container ship||2018||Brodosplit Shipping||Brodosplit||MAN||HPLSDF||DNV GL|
|8||unnamed||Container ship||2018||Containerships||Guangzhou Wenchong||Winterthur G&D||LPLSDF||ABS|
|9||unnamed||Container ship||2018||Containerships||Guangzhou Wenchong||Winterthur G&D||LPLSDF||ABS|
|10||unnamed||Container ship||2018||Containerships||Guangzhou Wenchong||Winterthur G&D||LPLSDF||ABS|
|11||unnamed||Container ship||2018||Containerships||Guangzhou Wenchong||Winterthur G&D||LPLSDF||ABS|
|12||unnamed||Fishfeed carrier||2018||Nordnorsk Shipping||Tersan||Rolls-Royce||Gas||DNV GL|
|13||Midnight Sun*||Container ship||2018||TOTE||NASSCO||Wärtsilä||DF||ABS|
|14||North Star*||Container ship||2018||TOTE||NASSCO||Wärtsilä||DF||ABS|
Source: LNG World Shipping, March 2017
DF: medium speed, dual-fuel
HPLSDF: high-pressure, low speed dual fuel
LPLSDF: low-pressure, low-speed dual-fuel