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Wärtsilä: Trailblazers in exhaust gas cleaning system retrofits

Finnlines explains its choice in scrubbers for meeting MARPOL sulphur requirements in the Baltics SECA.




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The following article was first published in Wärtsilä’s Twentyfour7 stakeholder publication and shared with Manifold Times:

When sulphur emissions in the Baltics were about to be drastically reduced four years ago, Finnlines had a choice: pay a premium for low sulphur fuel, or install exhaust gas cleaning systems and continue to use marine fuels.

The company opted to bet big on the latter, spending EUR 100m retrofitting the then relatively new technology (in marine industry) on 21 of the vessels it then owned, leaving only two reliant on low-sulphur fuel. 

“We had two choices to meet the new air emission limits. In the end, the principle driver was economics – money, to be very short,” explains Juha Ahia, Manager for new buildings and projects at the company that operates ro-pax and ro-ro ships at the Baltic and the North Sea.

Finnlines’ analysis suggested that the investment would pay for itself on most routes within a commercially feasible time considering the risk and the age of fleet.

While Finnlines was bold in the level of its investment, it was cautious in its choice of suppliers, splitting its orders between the ‘big players’, nine systems from Wärtsilä, and eleven from other suppliers.

“This was something that was new and we had no experience from the past, so we went with the normal technology but with companies who, we believed, knew what they were doing.”

Not so easy
Even with this approach, the company faced unexpected issues. The acidity of the discharge water led to corrosion around the discharge pipes on all ships. Some of the ships had issues with poor welding, some with nozzles, and a few with the water monitoring.

“Challenges in running scrubbers in winter conditions is something that no one had any previous experience of,” says Ahia.

But Finnlines has been pleased with the way Wärtsilä responded to these issues, for example replacing faulty monitoring systems with new ones from another supplier.

“Generally the service during the project has been very good. We've been well supported,” he says.  

Open loop exhaust gas cleaning systems are simple, technologically: seawater is sprayed into the exhaust and the water’s natural alkalinity then strips out the sulphur dioxide.

Johanna Snickars-Nykamb, Business Development Manager at Wärtsilä Services, believes the teething problems Finnlines faced shows that owners shouldn’t underestimate the challenges.

“People should be aware that there are issues. It’s not so easy,” she says. “You need to pay attention and choose the correct materials and the right suppliers.”

Advantage, Wärtsilä
Wärtsilä’s early entry into the exhaust gas cleaning system market, with its first commercial installation in 2010, and 162 vessels now supplied, means that it has ironed out common difficulties.

“We’ve been through all the beginner hiccups and now we have a very robust, reliable system,” she emphasises.

The company has developed its water monitor solution and now offers a new discharge outlet with higher grade materials guaranteed to withstand acidity.

Snickars-Nykamb believes Wärtsilä’s another advantage lies in its global presence with 200 locations worldwide. 

“Because we are a big company with a big support network, we can be on board fast,” she says. “Ship owners who have installed scrubbers need to have support quickly, because it’s costing them if they are not in compliance.”

The third advantage being that it can offer a full turnkey service, and also separate engineering and site advisory services. This is unique in the market.

Finnlines opted to contract its own engineering company and shipyard to better control the installation engineering and save on installation costs.

Finnlines sourced the equipment from three suppliers because it believed it would be difficult to a single supplier to meet such a large order in the time frame. It also wanted to gain experience of several makers, and wanted to lower the risk of new technology.

“At the end of 2014 we were at three repair yards simultaneously, and it proved to us that the installation was the most challenging phase of the project,” Ahia remembers.

Snickars-Nykamb says that several customers have chosen to avoid these project management headaches by retro-fitting exhaust gas cleaning system through a turnkey contract with Wärtsilä.

“Wärtsilä is very strong on the whole project handling,” Snickars-Nykamb says. “Not all of the other scrubber suppliers have this in-house.”

With the rush now to install exhaust gas cleaning system before 2020, Wärtsilä and other players in the industry have new competition from Asian shipyards who are designing their own exhaust gas cleaning systems and offering them to new-build and retrofit customers.

However, Snickars-Nykamb advises ship owners to critically evaluate the new exhaust gas cleaning system suppliers entering the market to avoid the teething problems these new suppliers might be facing in their first installations.

Published: 28 August, 2018

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Port & Regulatory

X-Press Feeders inks MoU with six European ports for green shipping corridors

Firm signed a MoU with Ports of Antwerp Bruges, Tallinn, Helsinki, HaminaKotka, Freeport of Riga and Klaipeda Port to develop infrastructure for provision and bunkering of alternative bunker fuels, among others.





X-Press Feeders inks MoU with six European ports for green shipping corridors

Singapore-based global maritime container shipping company X-Press Feeders on Friday (5 April) signed of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with six European ports: Port of Antwerp Bruges (Belgium), Port of Tallinn (Estonia), Port of Helsinki (Finland), Port of HaminaKotka (Finland), Freeport of Riga (Latvia) and Klaipeda Port (Lithuania).

This landmark agreement signifies a joint commitment to accelerate the establishment of green shipping corridors and the broader decarbonisation of the marine sector in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. Through this MOU, X-Press Feeders and the participating ports will pool resources and expertise to develop and implement sustainable practices for maritime operations.

Under the MOU:

  • Parties will work together to further develop infrastructure for the provision and bunkering of alternative fuels such as green methanol,
  • Encourage the development of supply chains for fuel that are zero or near to zero in terms of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Provide further training programs for port workers and seafarers with regards to the handling of alternative fuels
  • Leverage digital platforms to enhance port call optimisation
  • Parties will have regular meetings to update and discuss progress on actions for further developing green shipping corridors.

The MOU underscores the collective dedication to broader decarbonisation efforts within the maritime sector.

The collaboration between the parties will begin with the establishment of these two shipping routes:

  • Green Baltic X-PRESS (GBX): Rotterdam > Antwerp Bruges > Klaipeda > Riga > Rotterdam
  • Green Finland X-PRESS (GFX): Rotterdam > Antwerp Bruges > Helsinki > Tallinn > HaminaKotka > Rotterdam

These services are scheduled to commence in Q3 2024, marking a significant step towards more environmentally sustainable shipping services in Europe. This development is significant as these will be the very first scheduled feeder routes in Europe powered by green methanol, an alternative fuel that produces at least 60% less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional marine fuel.

X-Press Feeders’ green methanol is sourced from fuel supplier OCI Global. The green methanol is made from green hydrogen and the decomposition of organic matter, such as waste and residues. 

OCI’s green methanol is independently certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) Association headquartered in Germany. The ISCC system promotes and verifies the sustainable production of biomass, circular and bio-based materials and renewables.

X-Press Feeders’ Chief Operating Officer, Francis Goh, said: “By working together – X-Press Feeders and the six partner ports – aim to efficiently implement green shipping corridors and lead the maritime industry in sustainability. We chose the Nordic and Baltic states as the first markets to deploy our green methanol powered vessels because we found the ports and our customers in these markets to be very receptive.”

“This MoU represents a significant milestone in our commitment to a sustainable future for the maritime industry. By collaborating with these leading European ports, we can collectively drive the adoption of green technologies that accelerate the decarbonisation of our industry.”

Vladas Motiejūnas, Harbor Master of the Port of Klaipėda, said: “In recent years, Klaipeda Port has taken significant strides towards sustainability. This year marks the commencement of construction for green hydrogen production and refuelling stations at the port, along with the implementation of shore-side power supply (OPS) stations for roll-on/roll-off ferries.”

“Furthermore, Klaipeda Port proudly enters 2024 with the Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certification, underscoring our commitment to environmental stewardship. Already, methanol bunkering operations are available at Klaipeda Port.”

“The integration of Klaipeda Port into environmentally sustainable shipping services by X-Press Feeders is a testament to our unwavering dedication to fostering a greener port.”


Photo credit: X-Press Feeders
Published: 8 April 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

Bunker barge “FlexFueler001” delivered 110 mt of LNG bunker fuel to chemical tanker “Liselotte Esberger”, marking a milestone since it was the first time Titan delivered to a vessel of E&S Tankers.





Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

LNG bunker fuel supplier Titan on Monday (19 February) said it executed a successful LNG bunkering operation for E&S Tankers, a joint venture of Essberger Tankers and Stolt Tankers as an operator of chemical tankers within Europe. 

The refuelling operation took place at the port of Antwerp on 15 January. 

“Our vessel, FlexFueler001, flawlessly delivered 110 mt of LNG to the Liselotte Esberger, marking a milestone since it is the first time we deliver to a vessel of E&S Tankers,” it said in a social media post. 

“This operation underscores our dedication to sustainable shipping practices and showcases our commitment to environmentally friendly solutions. We're proud to collaborate with E&S Tankers and look forward to furthering our shared mission.”

Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

According to E&S Tankers website, the 7,135 dwt Liselotte Essberger arrived in Hamburg from a shipyard in China on 5 December 2023 and was christened the following day.  

The vessel is first of a total of four newbuildings ordered by the firm that are equipped with LNG dual-fuel engines.

Related: E&S Tankers launches second LNG dual fuel chemical tanker “John T. Essberger”


Photo credit: Titan and E&S Tankers
Published: 20 February, 2024

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Shipping Corridor

Report: Korea-US-Japan green shipping corridors can lead to significant environmental impact

Creating green shipping corridors between South Korea, the United States and Japan’s top two busiest routes can reduce up to 41.3 million tCO2 each year, says Korean NPO Solutions for Our Climate.





Report: Korea-US-Japan green shipping corridors can lead to significant environmental impact

Korea-based non-profit organisation Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC) on Tuesday (13 February) said creating green shipping corridors between South Korea, the United States and Japan's top two busiest routes – Busan-Tokyo and Yokohama; Busan-Los Angeles and Long Beach– can reduce up to 41.3 million tCO2 each year. 

This is equivalent to annual emissions from over 9 million passenger vehicles in the United States.

“We evaluated the anticipated impact of several proposed KoreaUnited States-Japan green shipping corridors involving ports of Busan (KRPUS), Incheon (KRINC), and Gwangyang (KRKAN) —South Korea’s three major container ports,” SFOC said in the report. 

Each of the three South Korean ports will have the most significant environmental impact if connected to ports of Tokyo (JPTYO)/Yokohama (JPYOK) in Japan and ports of Los Angeles (USLAX)/Long Beach (USLGB) in the United States. 

“If container ships that travel KRPUS – JPTYO/ JPYOK and KRPUS – USLAX/USLGB are converted to zero emission ships, we can expect significant reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions, approximately 20.7 million tCO2 and 20.6 million tCO2, respectively,” it added. 

Accordingly, reducing GHG emissions in the global maritime shipping will require coordinated multilateral commitments and actions.

The green shipping corridor initiative is a global effort to align the shipping industry with the 1.5°C trajectory. It aims to:

  • Create maritime routes in which mainly zero-emission ships travel
  • Run ports with 100 percent renewable energy
  • Enforce mandatory use of on-shore power for docked vessels.

“With increasing global shipping emissions, green corridors are key to decarbonising the sector,” SFOC said. 

“Our latest report on green corridors comes on the heels of South Korea and the United States' announcement to work together to implement cross-country green shipping corridors between several of their key ports.”


Photo credit: Solutions for Our Climate
Published: 14 February, 2024

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