In a debate on Green Shipping carried out within Portugal Shipping Week, the defence of LNG in maritime transport was made generally by a panel of speakers that included representatives from ports, cruise companies and GALP, among others.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the near future of fuels in maritime transport, in a context a little over a year after the entry into force of new rules on marine fuels imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). At least, this was the idea that prevailed in a debate under the theme “Green Shipping: Opportunities and Challenges in the Atlantic”, held during Portugal Shipping Week in Lisbon, Portugal.
As is well known, the new rules will oblige vessels to have a sulphur content of 0.5%, against the current 3.5% (except in certain shipping areas where this restriction already applies). To that extent, the shipping industry, and not just shipowners, will have an impact on manufacturers, the energy sector, ports, among others, and will be reflected in the sustainability of shipping companies, which will have to adapt the ships or build new units conforming to the new rules.
Tom Strang, vice president for maritime affairs at Carnival’s cruise company and one of the panellists, admitted that in his view “LNG seems to be the cleanest energy” and that it is necessary “to reduce the carbon footprint” in the sector. He noted that organizations that have invested in this technology have done well and, while recognizing that “other fuels for ships are challenges,” he recalled that they are poorly studied and lack installed infrastructures, unlike LNG.
Another speaker, Alex Panagopoulos, Chairman of Arista Shipping, a company engaged in maritime transport and with representation in Portugal, also considered LNG to be the best fuel for ships in the current context. He recalled Project Forward, a project promoted by Arista Shipping, through the Forward Ships developed between 2013 and 2015 and aimed at promoting the use of LNG in ships as a solution to reduce emissions in the maritime industry. He also said that even without wanting to make predictions, he believes that what will advance LNG will be the price, because other fuels will be more expensive.
For its part, Airam Dias Pastor, Commercial Director of the Port Authority of Tenerife and president of the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports, also speaker of the panel, addressed the issue of LNG in the port of Tenerife, where the possibility of a regasification plant , the role of the association it presides over – representing some 100 ports in 20 countries, where about 80% of cruise passengers in the Mediterranean are passing – for this fuel.
John Ghio of the Port Authority of Gibraltar, also a panel speaker, recalled that the port of Gibraltar is the main port providing fuel for ships in Europe and the Mediterranean (over 4.5 million tonnes per year).
Also on the panel was Luc Pescio, Director of Ocean Dinamics, who recalled the difficulty of investing in LNG supplies. According to him, ship orders to LNG imply great changes in the industry, but big companies of the sector are doing them. In his view, the best supply model could be floating solutions, ie from other storage vessels and suppliers.
Another speaker was Steve Esau, General Manager of SEA / LNG, an organization that brings together several LNG operators on ships at different points in the value chain and is dedicated to promoting the use of this fuel in maritime transport. He acknowledged that in the face of the increasingly restrictive emissions regulations by ships approaching, “investing in LNG is a good alternative.” And that in the long term, LNG should be the solution for maritime transport, to evaluate the trends that are being revealed.
Also present was José Carlos Roque from GALP, who admitted that the company is prepared to meet the international requirements of lower sulfur content in the marine fuel and that “some steps have already been taken”. In its view, in Portugal, the problem of the LNG market is its small size.
News reproduced courtesy of Economia do Mar www.jornaldaeconomiadomar.com