Hapag-Lloyd first in world to convert large container ship to LNG

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Recently the maritime company Hapag Lloyd of Hamburg has signed with the Chinese company Hudong ZHONGHUA Shipbuilding (Group) Co Ltd. a contract to convert its maxi container ship “Sajir” of 15.000 TEU (conventional unit that is equivalent to a container of 20 feet) to LNG.

The conversion will be carried out in the Shanghai-based shipyard of Huarun Dadong Dockyard Co. Ltd. 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. The plan will be to operate the vessel using LNG, but to also be able to use low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) as a backup.

 “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”, says Richard von Berlepsch, Managing Director of  Fleet Management at Hapag-Lloyd. “By carrying out this unprecedented pilot, we hope to learn for the future and to pave the way for large ships to be retrofitted to use this alternative fuel.

The 2014-built “Sajir” is one of 17 vessels in Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet originally designed to be LNG-ready, and its 16 sister ships are also technically prepared for retrofitting.

Moreover, the project will see the retrofit of a 6,000 m³ LNG tank, that would reduce its nominal container capacity by more than 400 TEU. With conversion costs of USD 20 -25 million per vessel  and a payback on such a renovation of 7-10 years, Hapag Lloyd believes the ships must not be older than 8 or 9 years.

By converting the “Sajir” containership, Hapag-Lloyd will implement a technological option to reduce the environmental impact of large vessels, potentially reducing CO2 emissions by 15% to 30% and sulphur dioxide and particulate matter by more than 90%.

With a fleet of 222 modern container ships (including leased and chartered vessels) and a total transport capacity of 1.6 million TEU, Hapag-Lloyd is one of the world’s leading shipping companies, with around 12,000 employees and 394 offices in 127 countries.

Source: Hapag Lloyd