CMA CGM’s Mermaid makes a splash

French containership major CMA CGM has welcomed into the fleet CMA CGM Mermaid, the first ship in a series of ten new 2,000 TEU container ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

CMA CGM Mermaid; Courtesy of: CMA CGM

The fleet has been designed in cooperation with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Danish engineering firm Odense Marine Technique (OMT), which converted the concept into an industrial prototype. The vessel construction was entrusted to South Korea’s shipbuilding major Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD).

Finally, GTT has worked closely on the project for the design and conception of the gas chain and storage tank, which has a total capacity of 1,053 m3.

Optimization of energy efficiency is at the heart of the vessel design. One of the original characteristics of the design is the ratio of 204.29 m long to 29.6 m wide to improve the ships’ hydrodynamic and aerodynamic performance.  

This is the first series in the CMA CGM fleet with superstructures located at the front for better aerodynamic performance and higher loading capacity compared to conventional architecture.

The design also features an almost inverted straight bow with an integrated bow bulb aimed at better hydrodynamic performance to reduce fuel consumption by 15% per trip.

CMA CGM Mermaid; Image courtesy: CMA CGM

These ships are powered by 12-megawatt MAN dual-fuel LNG engines. They can also carry biogas (-67% eq. CO2) produced from bio-waste and are convertible to e-methane (-85% eq. CO2) produced from decarbonized hydrogen.

The 10 new container ships will also be equipped with an alternator coupled to the main propulsion engine, which will provide the energy needed to power the onboard electrical installations once at sea.

Another innovation incorporated in the series is a 1MW hydrogen-powered fuel cell, described as the most powerful fuel cell aboard a ship. It is on track to be mounted on the last of the series which is scheduled for delivery in January 2025.

The fuel cell will enable the ship to have zero emissions when berthed.

Delivered progressively between February 2024 and January 2025, the ten new vessels will transport goods over short distances, mainly in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Between April and July, six of the series will join the Intra-Northern-Europe line to serve the Baltic and Scandinavian ports from the hubs of Hamburg and Bremerhaven. Four other ships will join the Intra-Mediterranean line between the end of September and the end of November.

The CMA CGM Mermaid is set to embark on its voyage to Northern Europe from Busan in South Korea.

CMA CGM has a fleet of around 620 vessels, including more than 30 already powered by alternative energies. The French major estimates that these ships will emit up to -20% CO2 compared to a similar-sized ship with a conventional maritime fuel design. By 2028, CMA CGM plans to have 120 ships powered by low-carbon energies.

The latest delivery is part of CMA CGM’s fleet renewal program, which has seen an investment of more than $15 billion. The investment is part of the group’s efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.