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Hapag-Lloyd Converts First ‘Large’ Containership to LNG Fuel

German shipping group Hapag-Lloyd has announced the successful conversion of the 15,000 TEU-capacity Brussels Express to run on liquefied natural gas.

In completing the conversion, the ship becomes the first “large” containership to make the switch to LNG propulsion, the company says.

The vessel, originally built in 2014 and previously named ‘Sajir’, began the conversion back in September 2020 at the Huarun Dadong Dockyard in Shanghai, China, where personnel used a floating crane to hoist and install the 1,300-tonne LNG tank into the belly of the ship. The ship was later named Brussels Express in a nod to the European Green Deal, signed and it also now bears the phrase “Shipping for a cleaner future!” on the forecastle.

The vessel sailed into its home port of Hamburg over the weekend.

“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,” says Richard von Berlepsch, Managing Director Fleet Management at Hapag-Lloyd. “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).”

While the Brussels Express is not yet operating exclusively with LNG as final preparations are completed, the ship is expected to undergo its first complete LNG bunkering in Singapore on the next round voyage. Once completed, the ship will bunker twice per round-trip voyage (in Singapore and Rotterdam) on the Far East 4 service between Asia and North Europe.

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2021-06-07 16:39:49

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