Photo: Sajir (Image courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd)

Hapag-Lloyd’s large containership set for LNG retrofit

German-based liner shipping company Hapag-Lloyd will become the first company in the world to convert one of its large containerships to LNG power.

Hapag-Lloyd said that it would retrofit its 15,000 TEU ship Sajir to operate using liquified natural gas.

After the retrofit is completed, the engine system would be able to function using either LNG or low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO).

The contract for the retrofitting was signed at the end of last week with Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding while the conversion procedure would be carried out in the Shanghai-based Huarun Dadong Dockyard shipyard.

During its time in the shipyard, the ship’s fuel system and its existing heavy fuel oil-burning engine will be converted into a dual-fuel engine.

Richard von Berlepsch, managing director of fleet management at Hapag-Lloyd, said, “By converting the Sajir, we will be the first shipping company in the world to retrofit a container ship of this size to LNG propulsion.”

He noted that the company aims to learn from the retrofitting process in order to use the experience for large ships to be retrofitted to LNG in the future.

The Sajir is one of the 17 vessels in Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet that were originally designed to be LNG-ready. Its 16 sister ships are also technically prepared for retrofitting. With the conversion of the Sajir, Hapag-Lloyd will be implementing a technological option to reduce the environmental impact of large vessels.

The company added that using LNG in the shipping industry could potentially reduce CO2 emissions by 15 to 30 percent and sulfur dioxide and particulate matter by more than 90 percent.