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CSSC and CMA CGM Seal Deal for Methanol Retrofit
CSSC and CMA CGM Seal Deal for Methanol Retrofit

CSSC and CMA CGM Seal Deal for Methanol Retrofit

  • 31-Jan-2024 7:11 PM
  • Journalist: Jacob Kutchner

CMA CGM, a leading French container shipping company, has entered into a significant agreement with China State Shipbuilding Corporation's Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding Co. for a project involving the methanol dual-fuel conversion of a containership at Beihai Shipbuilding.

This collaborative initiative is rooted in a shared commitment to sustainable shipping development goals and builds upon the longstanding cooperation between the two entities. Dating back to 2018, CMA CGM and Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding have worked together on various projects, including container ship lengthening and modification initiatives, hybrid scrubber modifications, ballast water treatment projects, and propulsion projects. The partnership evolved in 2021 with the signing of a construction contract for ten 5,500TEU container ships, marking a significant milestone in their collaboration.

Methanol is emerging as a preferred solution in the maritime industry's pursuit of decarbonization. With the sector actively exploring alternatives to traditional fossil fuels to meet ambitious decarbonization targets, methanol has garnered attention for its potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CMA CGM has been proactive in embracing methanol as a clean-burning fuel and ordered methanol-powered newbuilds in China in April 2023. The company placed an order for twelve 15,000TEU methanol-powered container ships, splitting the construction between Dalian Shipbuilding and Jiangnan Shipyard, with each yard responsible for building six vessels. Methanol's appeal lies in its versatility as a clean fuel and its compatibility with existing infrastructure, making it an attractive option for container shipping companies seeking sustainable practices.

Methanol emerged as the most popular alternative fuel choice in newbuild orders in 2023, with 138 ships ordered (excluding methanol carriers). This marked a significant increase from the 35 ships ordered to run on methanol in 2022. Container ships led this segment with 106 orders, followed by bulk carriers (13) and car carriers (10). The surge in methanol-related orders reflects the industry's shift toward cleaner and more environmentally friendly fuel options.

CMA CGM's decision to embark on a methanol dual-fuel conversion project aligns with broader industry trends, showcasing a commitment to sustainable and low-carbon shipping solutions. The collaboration with Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding highlights the significance of international partnerships in advancing innovative technologies and practices within the maritime sector.

It's noteworthy that CMA CGM's move into methanol conversion follows the lead of Danish counterpart Maersk, which has also initiated a methanol conversion project in China. The maritime industry's increasing focus on methanol as a viable and sustainable fuel option underscores the urgency and commitment to achieving decarbonization goals across the shipping sector. As CMA CGM joins the ranks of companies exploring methanol dual-fuel solutions, it contributes to the collective effort to transition toward greener and more environmentally responsible shipping practices.

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