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X-Press Feeders Gears Up for Methanol-Powered Service in Europe

Two of X-Press Feeders' new green-methanol-powered boxships, in green livery (X-Press Feeders)
Two of X-Press Feeders' new green-methanol-powered boxships, in green livery (X-Press Feeders)

Published Apr 7, 2024 9:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

Plans by Singapore-based X-Press Feeders to launch green shipping corridors in Northern Europe are on schedule to commence in the third quarter of this year following the inking of a landmark agreement with six ports.

The liner announced readiness to begin the use of dual-fuel vessels powered by green methanol on the Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea routes after signing of memorandum of understanding with the ports of Antwerp Bruges (Belgium), Tallinn (Estonia), Helsinki (Finland), HaminaKotka (Finland), Freeport of Riga (Latvia) and Klaipeda Port (Lithuania).

X-Press Feeders is now on schedule to begin the operation of methanol powered vessels on two shipping routes connecting the six ports. The liner says that the development is significant because the services will be the very first scheduled feeder routes in Europe powered by green methanol, an alternative fuel that produces at least 60 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuel oil. 

The company, which operates a fleet of more than 100 vessels, has 14 dual-fuel feeder vessels on order that will be delivered starting this year through to mid-2026. Each of the ships has a capacity of 1,200 TEU. The first vessel is preparing to make its maiden voyage from Shanghai’s builder Sumec Yangzhou New Dayang Shipbuilding Company to Rotterdam.

The ship will use bio-methanol, a renewable energy source produced from decomposing waste and residues, for her voyage to Europe.  X-Press Feeders has already signed a contract with Dutch fuel supplier OCI Global for the supply of green methanol at the port of Rotterdam. X-Press Feeders says that the vessels will save about 270 kilograms of CO2e emissions for every TEU carried when compared to a conventionally-fueled ship. 

“By working together – X-Press Feeders and the six partner ports – aim to efficiently implement green shipping corridors and lead the maritime industry in sustainability. We chose the Nordic and Baltic states as the first markets to deploy our green methanol powered vessels because we found the ports and our customers in these markets to be very receptive,” said Francis Goh, X-Press Feeders’ Chief Operating Officer.

The MoU covers joint development of infrastructure for green methanol bunkering and cooperative measures for supporting the green methanol supply chain. Other collaborations will include training programs for port workers and seafarers on handling methanol, as well as using digital platforms to speed up port calls. 

For green methanol and other sustainable fuels to meet the needs of the global maritime industry, production needs to scale up. However, X-Press Feeders thinks that the amount of bio-methanol available is enough to run ‘closed loop’ services in Northern Europe. This means about 95 percent of the entire round voyage can be powered by methanol, with a resupply of fuel at the bunkering port after every voyage. Over the long haul, X-Press Feeders wants to fully decarbonize by 2050.