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Unifeeder Group to add methanol-capable container feeder duo to European network

Latest agreement is in partnership with German-based ship owning group Elbdeich Reederei and Norwegian shipowner MPC Container Ships, who are responsible for one vessel each.

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Unifeeder Group to add methanol-capable container feeder duo to European network

Unifeeder Group on Monday (19 February) said it successfully completed a long-term charter agreement for two additional methanol-capable container feeder vessels. 

This follows the agreement for two initial vessels announced in October 2023. 

The latest agreement is in partnership with German-based ship owning group Elbdeich Reederei and Norwegian shipowner MPC Container Ships (MPCC), who are responsible for one vessel each. The 1,250 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessels, scheduled for delivery in 2026, will be deployed on Unifeeder’s European network.

The addition of these new vessels reinforces the group’s ongoing efforts to reduce emissions across its network. Simultaneously, Unifeeder is enhancing fuel efficiency throughout the fleet while increasing the utilisation of bio bunker fuels in its conventional vessels.

In alignment with its parent company, DP World, Unifeeder collaborates with industry partners to address the challenge of renewable methanol supply. This requires off-take commitments to establish production at the scale needed to replace conventional fossil fuels within the industry.

Jesper Kristensen, Group CEO of Unifeeder Group, said: “Building upon our commitment to methanol-powered vessels last year, this marks another significant stride towards the green transformation of our fleet and operations.”

“We anticipate the vessels to enter into operation in the next two years, advancing our steadfast commitment to sustainable solutions. We offer our customers alternatives that align with their sustainability journeys while making meaningful progress towards our own ambitious decarbonisation goals.”

The investment in the two new additional ships further supports Unifeeder Group’s decarbonisation plan. Surpassing the industry average, Unifeeder has committed to a 25% reduction of emissions by 2030 and to reach net-zero by 2050 with no new fossil greenhouse gas emissions. 

It aims to achieve this by emphasising fuel-efficient practices, regular maintenance and refitting processes of the existing fleet and fostering a culture of learning and collaboration, sharing best practices across markets to drive effective carbon reduction strategies.

Related: Unifeeder inks time-charter deal for up to four methanol powered vessels

 

Photo credit: Unifeeder Group
Published: 20 February, 2024

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Methanol

Methanol Institute: Progress as a marine fuel continues across supply chain (Week 15, 8-14 April 2024)

Some quarters of the industry continue to express high level issues around bunkering quality standards, training and availability.

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RESIZED Methanol Institute logo

Chris Chatterton, Chief Operating Officer of The Methanol Institute, provides an exclusive weekly commentary on developments related to the adoption of methanol as a bunker fuel, including significant related events recorded during the week, for the readers of bunkering publication Manifold Times:

Methanol’s positive progress as a marine fuel continues across the supply chain and shipping sectors, with buyers, suppliers and users all advancing plans for adoption and safe handling.

Some quarters of the industry continue to express high level issues around bunkering quality standards, training and availability – all issues that MI has either completed work on or can provide insight and support.

Elsewhere, work continues to increase the reach of methanol as a fuel and its role in lower carbon emissions. With an increasing share of the industry capable of using methanol as fuel, more designs are coming off the drawing board or achieving class approval, increasing the options for maritime industry stakeholders.

Methanol marine fuel related developments for Week 15 of 2024:

VPS Panel Session Highlights Challenges with Methanol Bunker Fuel Adoption in Shanghai

Date: April 10, 2024

Key Points: A recent seminar organized by VPS in Shanghai focused on the use of methanol as a marine fuel, where various industry experts discussed its challenges and advancements. Key participants included representatives from Chimbusco, the Methanol Institute, Green Marine Group, VPS, DNV, and GARD. They covered topics such as the limited availability of green methanol, the need for methanol bunkering standards, and the importance of safety and training in handling new fuels. Chimbusco highlighted efforts to improve methanol supply at ports and develop quality standards. The Methanol Institute addressed the market gap between methanol supply and demand, noting the increasing number of vessels needing methanol. Green Marine Group emphasized safety in the maritime energy transition, particularly with new fuels like methanol and ammonia. VPS and DNV discussed ensuring safety and quality in methanol bunkering, leveraging existing industry standards. Lastly, GARD spoke on the changing risk profiles due to new fuels, stressing the importance of crew training and insurer engagement to manage these risks effectively. This session underlined the collaborative effort required to support the maritime industry's shift towards decarbonization while maintaining safety standards. 

Blueprints Revealed for Cruise Ship Powered by Wind and Methanol

Date: April 10, 2024

Key Points: Norway-based YSA Design has introduced a concept for a sustainable catamaran cruise ship named Seabreeze, catering to luxury cruise guests. This innovative design features transparent bays between the hulls, allowing guests to view the sea directly beneath them. The ship combines environmental friendliness and modern technology by utilizing foldable sails and engines that run on biomethanol for propulsion. Additionally, it includes a hybrid drive system for silent running on battery power. Designed to accommodate 200 guests and 155 crew members, the Seabreeze's dimensions allow it to navigate shallow waters, making it ideal for reaching less accessible destinations. This project reflects the cruise industry's shift towards sustainability and the need to offer unique experiences to environmentally conscious travellers.

Maersk's New Boxship Takes On Methanol for the First Time in China

Date: April 12, 2024

Key Points: The new 16,000 TEU container ship from AP Moller-Maersk, named Astrid Maersk, has recently completed its first methanol refueling in China at the port of Yangshan, Shanghai. This event, announced on Maersk's website, marks a significant milestone as it represents the first instance of green methanol bunkering in the country. The vessel, which was just named last week in Yokohama, is part of Maersk's commitment to sustainability and its efforts to lead in decarbonizing global logistics. Silvia Ding, Maersk's Managing Director for Greater China, highlighted this event as a critical development in building the necessary green methanol infrastructure and emphasized the company's dedication to innovative solutions for a greener future.

Bureau Veritas Grants Approval for Methanol Fuel System

Date: April 10, 2024

Key Points: Bureau Veritas, a classification society, has given preliminary approval to a methanol dual-fuel system designed by Sasaki Shipbuilding for a 9,000 DWT general cargo vessel. This approval in principle (AiP) underlines the feasibility of using methanol as a sustainable fuel option not only for larger ships but now also for smaller vessels. This achievement highlights Sasaki Shipbuilding's ongoing efforts to innovate within the maritime industry by developing ships that can utilize alternative fuels, thus contributing to the industry’s broader sustainability goals. This move reinforces the potential of methanol for environmentally friendly propulsion across various maritime applications.

Development of Methanol Bunkering Platform Scheduled for China

Date: April 4, 2024

Key Points: Green Marine is set to enhance the methanol fuel market in China with the launch of a new trading platform, following a strategic agreement with the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Lingang Special Area Administration. This initiative will feature the creation of a methanol bunkering training and certification center in Lingang and the development of an online "Green Fuels Trading Platform." This platform will provide essential tools for managing methanol price fluctuations and facilitating methanol transactions, aiming to improve the allocation of green fuel resources in Shanghai and establish a top-tier green shipping fuel service ecosystem. The move comes as methanol gains popularity as a marine fuel, with increasing demand from various shipping segments. Efforts are being intensified to scale up the green methanol supply to meet the needs of new methanol-fueled vessels entering service.

Upcoming Product Tankers to Feature Batteries, Wing Sails, and Methanol Engines

Date: April 11, 2024

Key Points: A new series of refined product tankers set to be introduced in Europe will be equipped with various advanced features aimed at enhancing environmental sustainability. These vessels will incorporate a battery system, wind-assisted propulsion, and methanol-fueled engines, as announced by the French shipping company EuroGreen Maritime, which has entered into a seven-year charter agreement with Norway's Equinor. Designed by LMG Marin France, these dual-fuel MR IMO II chemical tankers will also feature OceanWings® for reduced fuel consumption, a large battery pack for better power management, and a shore power connection to minimize emissions during port operations. Managed by V.Ships France and flagged under France, the tankers are scheduled for delivery from the Wuhu Shipyard in Weihai, China starting in the first half of 2026. This initiative is part of EuroGreen and Equinor's broader strategy to diminish the environmental impact of maritime operations. 

Green Fuels Powered 3% of Maersk's Container Shipments in 2023

Date: April 12, 2024

Key points: AP Moller-Maersk reported an uptick in its use of green fuels for shipping containers, with 3% of its shipments in 2023 powered by such fuels, up from 2% in the previous year. The company aims to increase this to 25% by 2030, defining green fuels as those that achieve at least 65% reduction in lifecycle GHG emissions compared to traditional fossil fuels. The recent increase was primarily fueled by higher usage of biofuel blends and the incorporation of methanol-fueled vessels, including one 2,100 TEU feeder vessel and two 16,000 TEU ships. Maersk is actively working on securing more green methanol and other sustainable fuels to meet its future goals and is also exploring the use of green ammonia and other potential eco-friendly fuels for future operations.

 

Photo credit: The Methanol Institute
Published: 24 April 2024

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Interview

‘Big opportunity’ for bunker traders, suppliers on upcoming FuelEU regulation, forecasts OceanScore

‘Fossil Methanol is disastrous from a well-to-tank perspective due to its low energy efficiency but many biofuels present certain advantages,’ shares Albrecht Grell.

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‘Big opportunity’ for bunker traders, suppliers on upcoming FuelEU regulation, forecasts OceanScore

Bunker traders and suppliers could enjoy a huge market advantage if they start preparing for the upcoming FuelEU Maritime (FuelEU) regulation effective 2025, advises Hamburg-based technology platform OceanScore.

The firm, which provides solutions for the analysis, management, and compliance of maritime emissions, says FuelEU sets well-to-wake greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity requirements on energy used on board ships over 5,000 GT trading in the EU.

“FuelEU is a global regulation issued by Europe and all ships calling Europe are affected by it,” Albrecht Grell, Managing Director, of OceanScore told Manifold Times.

“The regulation aims to increase the share of renewable and low-carbon fuels in the fuel mix of international maritime transport in the EU.”

Grell explained EU has set a threshold for carbon dioxide (CO2) vessel emissions from marine fuels, and the “big opportunity” lies in having players in the bunker sector source for the right type of fuel to market before FuelEU takes effect from 2025.

‘Big opportunity’ for bunker traders, suppliers on upcoming FuelEU regulation, forecasts OceanScore

“Stakeholders will have a pay a penalty of EUR 2,400 per metric tonne (pmt) of VLSFO equivalent to the EU when they generate emissions above the EU Emissions target, from 2025 so it helps greatly when the supplier can source and provide the right bunker fuel for their clients,” he said.

“Shipowners can avoid a fine by using LNG or LPG due to both fuels likely generating compliance surpluses. Fossil Methanol is disastrous from a well-to-tank perspective due to its low energy efficiency but many biofuels present advantages.”

According to Grell, the EU only recognises certain biofuel blends as green. Biofuels made from palm oil are normally not acceptable and the “real trick” is to find waste cooking oil which is legal under FuelEU.

‘Big opportunity’ for bunker traders, suppliers on upcoming FuelEU regulation, forecasts OceanScore

“There will be great opportunity for bunker traders and suppliers to start venturing into biofuels especially the clean biofuels from newer feedstock to help shipowners avoid the EUR 2,400 penalties which will go up when the regulation gets stricter after 2030,” he said.

“Shipowners, in turn, could for example save one tank of accepted, low carbon biofuel and only use it for voyages within Europe, using other fuels on their voyage outside of or to Europe.”

Obligations related to FuelEU will start from 1 January 2025 onwards.

 

Photo credit: OceanScore
Published: 24 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

ABS publishes new technical and operational advisory on methanol bunkering

New advisory provides the maritime industry with insight into the challenges of bunkering methanol and strategies to address them.

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ABS publishes new technical and operational advisory on methanol bunkering

Classification society ABS on Monday (22 April) released its Methanol Bunkering: Technical and Operational Advisory, expanding its suite of guidance on methanol as a marine fuel.

A key component of the methanol value chain and the overall scalability of the fuel will be the ability to bunker methanol, either by truck-to-ship, ship-to-ship or land storage tank/terminal-to-ship.

The new advisory provides the maritime industry with insight into the challenges of bunkering methanol and strategies to address them.

John McDonald, ABS President and COO, said: “As the class provider for the world’s largest methanol-fueled vessel and with numerous methanol-based projects underway, ABS has unrivalled insight into the adoption of methanol as a marine fuel.”

“Numbers of methanol fueled vessels are growing rapidly and ABS is focused on supporting its safe adoption by the industry, which is why we are proud to offer this publication to support owners, operators and yards with bunkering challenges related to operations, design and training.” 

The publication provides guidance regarding the technical and operational challenges of the supplier to the receiving vessel including critical design issues, regulatory compliance, safe practices, areas of operational processes to consider, training and safety aspects.

Note: Download a copy of the ‘ABS Methanol Bunkering: Technical and Operational Advisory’ here

Related: World’s first methanol-fuelled boxship christened and named “Laura Maersk”

 

Photo credit: ABS
Published: 23 April 2024

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