From diesel to LNG: Hapag-Lloyd converts first large container ship

2021/06/07 at 2:48 PM

German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd is getting closer to use LNG for powering its container ships. The company’s first LNG-powered vessel, which was converted from the conventional one, has docked in the Port of Hamburg. Hapag-Lloyd will carry out the first complete LNG bunkering in the coming months.

For the first time, the Brussels Express LNG-powered container ship, which has a capacity of 15,000 TEU, arrived at the Port of Hamburg in the late evening of Friday, 4 June. Earlier, the vessel was only powered by the initial combustion engine and was known under the name of the Sajir.

In late 2020 Hapag-Lloyd started an exceptional modernisation project at the Huarun Dadong Dockyard in Shanghai where the mentioned container ship was equipped with the 1,300-tonne LNG tank to provide gas propulsion. “The fact that a retrofitting of this scale had never been done before meant that we faced numerous challenges – from the planning to the implementation. We have broken new ground with the conversion, and we will now be testing it very precisely in real-world operation,” said Richard von Berlepsch, Managing Director Fleet Management at Hapag-Lloyd.

Hapag-Lloyd equipped the Brussels Express container ship with the 1,300-tonne LNG tank, source: Hapag-Lloyd

Shipping for future

The breakwater of the Brussels Express ship was painted with a motto “Shipping for a cleaner future!” that manifests the company strategy. “Fossil LNG is currently the most promising fuel on the path towards zero emissions. The medium-term goal is to have CO2-neutral shipping operations using synthetic natural gas (SNG),” added Richard von Berlepsch.

It should be pointed out that the ship is not yet operating exclusively with LNG, as the final guarantee works will be performed at the end of this round voyage. The first complete LNG bunkering will then take place in Singapore on the next round voyage. In the future, the ship, which is currently operating in the Far East 4 service between Asia and North Europe, will bunker twice per round voyage: in Singapore and in Rotterdam.

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