CMA CGM Orders LNG Containerships With Pledge to Run Them on Biogas

biogas containerships
Newly built vessels which will operate on biogas will replace smaller ships sailing to the French West Indies (CMA CGM)

Published Sep 22, 2022 2:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

CMA CGM is continuing its focus on alternative fuels announcing an order for a total of seven new box ships which it pledges to operate on biogas. The dual-fuel containerships will also be part of an effort by the French shipping company to increase capacity for its service to the French West Indies.

During a trip to Martinique and Guadeloupe, Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Offcer of the CMA CGM Group, announced the rollout of new containerships which he says will be powered by biogas. The order is to consist of a total of seven vessels, three will have a capacity of 7,900 TEU while four will have a capacity of 7,300 TEU. Each of the vessels will have 1,385 reefer plugs for cargoes including the banana trade. CMA CGM transports 100 percent of bananas from the French West Indies to France. 

The vessels will be fitted with dual-fuel gas engines similar to the ones that CMA CGM first began using in 2017. While the vessel will be capable of using LNG, CMA CGM is highlighting its capabilities for biogas as well as synthetic methane. The company is saying that the vessels will operate on biogas produced from biomass which reduces CO2 emissions by 67 percent compared with conventional fuel.

Saadé did not say where the vessels would be built but reported that they will begin to enter service in 2024. CMA CGM is highlighting that it already has 31 e-methane ready containerships in its fleet fitted with dual-fuel engines. It said that by 2026 the fleet will include 77 of these dual-fuel vessels.

The seven new containerships will operate between France, Europe, Guadeloupe, and Martinique replacing smaller ships dedicated to routes. CMA CGM plans to increase service to the two islands which will also be the starting point for transshipments to Guyana, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy, and northeast Brazil.

The CMA CGM Group has a longstanding presence between France and the French West Indies. As part of the introduction of the new, larger vessels, the company group says it will help to modernize and increase the capacity of the biggest shipping ports in Guadeloupe and Martinique. They will also help to make the existing wharfs larger.