Hapag-Lloyd plans LNG and scrubber trials

Two 13,000 teu ships, similar in size to the pictured 'Antwerp Express', will have scrubbers installed (credit: Hapag-Lloyd) Two 13,000 teu ships, similar in size to the pictured 'Antwerp Express', will have scrubbers installed (credit: Hapag-Lloyd)

Hamburg-based container liner Hapag-Lloyd has revealed that it will study LNG fuel and scrubbers onboard three vessels next year as part of its preparation for IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap.

The company made the announcement as it revealed a marine fuel recovery mechanism to claw back the estimated US$1 billion it will spend on compliant fuel in 2020. This will be the liner’s main compliance method and Hapag-Lloyd believes it is the most environmentally friendly solution in the short term.

“We embrace the level playing field and environmental improvements resulting from a stricter regulation, but it is obvious that this is not for free and will create additional costs,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO, Hapag-Lloyd. “This will be mainly reflected in the fuel bills for low-sulphur fuel oil, as there is no realistic alternative for the industry remaining compliant by 2020.”

However, in a statement the company added: “Though we believe that currently low-sulphur fuel is the key solution for Hapag-Lloyd and the entire shipping industry, to comply to the regulation, we want to make sure we have evaluated all options.”

The company will install exhaust gas cleaning systems on two 13,000 teu vessels in 2019. It will also convert one of the 17 ships it has identified as potential candidates for LNG retrofits. The initial conversion will be one of the ‘LNG ready’ ships the company gained when it acquired the United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) last year.

Hapag-Lloyd estimated the cost of scrubber installations at US$7-10 million per ship, while converting a large ‘LNG-ready’ ship to LNG would cost US$20-25 million.

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