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


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