2020, giant boxships and different strategies

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

25 August 2017


As shipowners and operators prepare to formulate strategies for future container ship operations it seems that differing views on the available options are taking shape. This week two of the top container operators CMA CGM and MSC were involved in major new orders for 22,000teu ships. The French operator has signed a letter of intent with Chinese builders for up to nine 22,000teu while MSC is apparently close to sealing a deal with two Korean yards for a possible 11 vessels of similar size. The big difference between the two operators is their preferred choice for fuel and options for meeting the (link: https://shipinsight.com/guides/the-global-sulphur-cap-insight-report text: 2020 regulations). CMA CGM is said to be favouring LNG-fuelled vessels while MSC will likely be installing scrubbers to enable operation on HFO. Exactly what the CMA CGM choice will be remains to be seen. There has been speculation over whether the ships will be able to operate on LNG straight out of the blocks or whether they will just be LNG-ready. It should come as no surprise that the French operator is opting for LNG as it had declared that intention almost a year ago in October 2016 when announcing it had signed an MoU with French energy specialist ENGIE to promote LNG as the marine fuel for tomorrow’s container vessels. In that announcement, CMA CGM referred to its involvement in two projects for LNG-fuelled container ships. One was a dual-fuel vessel developed by DESME and approved in principle by BV and the other was the PERFECt project launched in 2015 in partnership with DNV GL, GTT, ABB, Caterpillar, and OMT for a combined gas and steam turbine system. Earlier this year at NorShipping, the partners in PERFECt presented the results of phase II of the PERFECt joint industry project (JIP). Phase II of the project looked to validate the phase I results and develop the concept to a “ready to order” stage. It would be a bold move by CMA CGM to opt for such an innovative system for the nine new vessels but it is not out of the question.