Photo: Methanol bunkering; Image credit: Vopak

Waterfront Shipping demonstrates methanol bunkering in Port of Rotterdam

Waterfront Shipping’s methanol-fuelled ship took part on Monday in the launch of the world’s first barge-to-ship methanol bunkering operation at the Port of Rotterdam.

During the operation, Takaroa Sun, a long-term chartered vessel owned by NYK Bulkship (Asia), a subsidiary of NYK, was provided with methanol from MTS Evidence bunker barge, operated by TankMatch.

The 49,000 dwt Takaroa Sun, delivered in 2019, is equipped with the MAN Energy Solutions’ two-stroke dual-fuel engine that runs on both methanol and conventional marine fuel. 

The premiere bunkering operation took place at the Vopak Terminal Botlek of Royal Vopak, in the Port of Rotterdam.

“Waterfront Shipping has been operating methanol-fuelled ships for over five years now, accumulating over 100,000 combined operating hours—and has been bunkering methanol for its methanol dual-fuelled vessels via cargo shore pipelines near Methanex’s production facilities,” said Paul Hexter, President of Waterfront Shipping.

“When appropriate safety measures are followed, we know that methanol is safe to ship, store, handle and bunker using procedures similar to conventional fuels. Today’s methanol bunkering demonstration is another step in helping the shipping industry with its journey to reduce emissions.”

At the end of last year, Canada-based Waterfront Shipping, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Methanex Corporation, ordered eight new methanol dual-fuel vessels from Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.

The vessels will add to WFS’s existing fleet of 11 methanol-fuelled ships, which have been recognized by the marine industry for their use of clean-burning methanol as a lower emission fuel. 

Once delivered, 60% of the company’s 30-ship fleet will be powered by lower emission, methanol dual-fuel technology.

Liquid at ambient temperature and miscible in water, methanol produces up to 15 percent lower carbon emissions during combustion than traditional fuel oil and is MARPOL Annex VI compliant for SOx emissions, particulate matter and Tier III NOx emissions.

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“The Port of Rotterdam fully supports initiatives to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and promotes sustainability for ships calling here and in other ports,” said Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam Authority.

“Methanol has proven to be able to meet our very stringent safety standards and can play an important role in meeting the lower emission goals.”

“As shipowners begin to engage in the energy transition, the Vopak terminals have the capabilities and experience to also work with operators of methanol-fuelled vessels and meet their specific
requirements,”
said Dick Richelle, Commercial Director of Royal Vopak.

“Methanol is globally available and has similar storage needs to conventional fuels. This demonstration proves that methanol bunkering is a safe and realistic option as a clean-burning fuel with a sustainable pathway.”

Methanol is one of the world’s most widely traded chemicals, according to the World’s Top Chemical Tanker Trade Routes 2019.

As a marine fuel, methanol is globally available at close to 90 of the world’s 100 largest ports.