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Italy Will Build LNG Bunker Vessel with Unique Ship-to-Truck Capability

Bay of Naples
Axpo plans to deploy the vessel around Naples, Italy starting in 2025

Published Aug 9, 2023 8:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

With efforts continuing to build out the infrastructure for different forms of LNG bunkering, renewable energy company Axpo announced plans to launch a first-of-its-kind ship-to-truck bunkering capability based in Italy as well as ship-to-ship LNG bunkering. The company will build a new bunker vessel due to enter service in 2025 based in the Gulf of Naples and the adjoining Tyrrhenian Sea region.

Axpo based in Switzerland has entered into a long-term agreement with Italy’s Gas and Heat and the San Giorgio del Porto shipyard for the new small-scale LNG vessel and bunkering capability. The flagship project was set up in collaboration with the Italian government’s infrastructure and transport ministry, MIT, and the Central Tyrrhenian Sea and Naples port authorities.

The vessel will be built in the San Giorgio’s shipyard in Piombino, Italy, with a capacity of up to 7,500 cbm. Initially, they anticipate it will be dedicated to bunkering liquified natural gas employing both conventional ship-to-ship bunkering for ocean-going vessels as well as an innovative and sustainable technology for continuous ship-to-truck operations. In the future, they note the ship could also transport the emerging bio-LNG and ammonia alternatives for the shipping sector. Axpo has signed a ten-year deal to charter an LNG bunkering vessel.

Axpo notes the project is designed to meet the growing demand for maritime fuels as well as the emerging alternative market for truck-based deliveries of LNG. They expect a strong market to emerge in the mid-term as more companies seek to reduce their carbon intensity and the growing demand for
cleaner marine fuel.

The truck-to-ship LNG capacity will use a unique capability proprietary to Gas and Heat. The company reports it will be the first use in Europe of the innovative technology on continuous ship-to-truck operations. It will entail the transfer of LNG to tanker trucks onshore, which then transport and distribute the LNG by road to final users. The truck-to-ship transfer system Gas and Heat reports was developed to speed up the bunkering of 600 cbm of LNG to a 15000 dwt LNG-fueled chemical tanker

Axpo reports the new vessel will feature a flexible multi-truck bunkering skid mounted onboard to enable the loading of several trucks simultaneously. Introducing this capability they believe will increase the range of applications for LNG.