World's Largest LNG-Powered Containership Commissioned

world's largest and
CMA CGM Jacques Saade is departing on her maiden voyage - photo courtesy of CMA CGM

Published Sep 22, 2020 3:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

CMA CGM Group celebrated the official commissioning of the world’s largest LNG-powered containership. Named CMA CGM Jacques Saade in honor of the company’s founder, the 23,000 TEU boxship was named in Shanghai with a unique digital ceremony reflecting the nature of the times. She becomes the first ultra large container ship to be powered by liquified natural gas.

Ordered in 2017, the new vessel is part of a class of nine being built for the company at the Chinese CSSC shipyards. It is also part of the company’s commitment towards achieving CMA CGM Group’s ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

On the occasion of the CMA CGM Jacques Saade’s coming into service, Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, declared: “The CMA CGM Jacques Saadé embodies our commitment to the planet. This vessel has been enhanced with the latest technologies and is the result of seven years of research and development.”

Regardless of the power system, these containerships are giants. They each will measure 1,312 feet in length with a 200-foot beam and draught 52 feet. They operate with a crew of 26 and one gas management officer.

They also incorporate a range of design advancements to optimize their hydrodynamic performance.  At the bow, they use for the first time on a vessel of this size a straight and tapered bow shape and integrated the bulb into the profile. The propeller and rudder have also been designed with new technologies to improve water flow and reduce energy consumption. The LNG tank also required significant engineering. It has a capacity of 18,600 cubic meters giving the ship the ability to complete round trips between Asia and Europe between refills of the tank. The shipyard reports that it took nine months to build and install the LNG tank.

The vessel also employs a broad range of advanced technologies. CMA CGM boats that it operates on a 100 percent digital platform with systems including augmented reality screens on the bridge and tactical screens for better viewing of the charts. A series of cameras mounted around the ship provides a first a full 360-degree view around the ship.

The CMA CGM Jacques Saade and the eight additional 23 000 TEU sister ships will all be registered at the French International Register. They will bear the names of landmark Parisian landmarks, including Champs Elysées, Palais Royal, Louvre, Rivoli, Montmartre, Concorde, Trocadéro, and Sorbonne. 

The CMA CGM Jacques Saade will start its maiden voyage as of September 23 sailing between Asia and Northern Europe on the French Asia Line. Voyages are scheduled to last 84 days calling at the ports of Pusan in South Korea; Tianjin, Ningbo, Shanghai and Yantian, China; Singapore; Southampton, Dunkirk, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Algeciras in Europe; and Port Kelang in Malaysia. 

The construction of these LNG ships is also spurring the development of the LNG bunkering business. Last week, Total, which was chosen as the gas supplier, commissioned in Rotterdam the first of its two large LNG bunker vessels. A second LNG bunker vessel is being built to operate from the port of Marseille, France to also serve the CMG CMA fleet.