CMA CGM CSSC methanol conversion

CMA CGM inks methanol retrofit deal with CSSC

French container shipping heavyweight CMA CGM and China State Shipbuilding Corporation’s Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding Co. have sealed a contract for a containership methanol dual-fuel conversion project at Beihai Shipbuilding.

Image credit: CSSC

The deal is expected to cover 9,360 TEU vessels built around a decade ago, with the commencement of the contract set for the beginning of 2025. Offshore Energy has approached CMA CGM for more details on the deal and is set to receive a comment.

This collaboration emerges from a mutual alignment on sustainable shipping development goals, and a long cooperation between the duo.

Namely, since 2018, the two companies cooperated on container ship lengthening and modification projects, hybrid scrubber modification, ballast water treatment, and propulsion projects.

With over 40 ships undergoing dock repair projects, the partnership reached a new stage in 2021 with the signing of a construction contract for ten 5,500TEU container ships.

Methanol is swiftly emerging as a favored solution in the quest to decarbonize the container shipping sector. With the maritime industry actively seeking alternatives to traditional fossil fuels to meet ambitious decarbonization goals, methanol has gained prominence for its potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

CMA CGM has already ordered methanol-powered newbuilds in China back in April 2023. Namely, the company placed an order for a total of twelve 15,000TEU methanol-powered containerships. Under the deal, the construction will be split between Dalian Shipbuilding and Jiangnan Shipyard, each yard building 6 vessels respectively.

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Its versatility as a clean-burning fuel and its compatibility with existing infrastructure make it an attractive option for container shipping companies aiming to transition toward more sustainable practices.

Based on the data from DNV, methanol proved the most popular alternative fuel choice in 2023 newbuild orders with 138 ships ordered (excluding methanol carriers), This is a steep increase compared to the 35 ordered to run on methanol in 2022. Container ships (106) dominated this segment, followed by bulk carriers (13) and car carriers (10).

CMA CGM follows in the footsteps of its Danish counterpart Maersk, which has also launched a methanol conversion project in China.

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