Shipper ZIM bets on LNG as transitional fuel

  • Market: Fertilizers, Natural gas, Oil products
  • 14/07/23

Israel-based container shipping company ZIM is embracing LNG as a transitional fuel to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

LNG is the only fuel currently available on a large scale to the shipping sector that immediately provides emissions reduction, the company said in its sustainability report. ZIM considers LNG to be a transitional solution to fuels such as bio-LNG (biological), e-LNG (synthetic), ammonia and methanol "when they become available". Five of the company vessels have ammonia-ready tanks that could be retrofitted for ammonia operation when ammonia becomes a feasible option. The company is also considering a biofuel pilot test.

In 2022, ZIM signed a 10-year marine LNG purchase agreement with Shell. The company chartered the newbuild LNG-powered 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container ship ZIM Sammy Ofer in February. It will charter another 27 newbuild LNG-fuelled container ships: 19 15,000 TEU vessels and 18 7,700 TEU vessels. These will replace older, lower fuel efficiency vessels. By next year, about 30pc of its fleet capacity will be LNG-fuelled, which is expected to reduce ZIM's carbon footprint by 25pc.

Last week, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted a revised GHG emissions strategy. IMO members agreed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 20pc, and preferably 30pc, by 2030; by at least 70pc, and preferably 80pc, by 2040; and to net zero by 2050 from 2008 base levels. ZIM is aiming for net zero emissions by 2050.

The company did not quantify its 2022 marine fuel consumption. Its latest data from 2021 showed that the company burned 1.33mn metric tonnes (t) of residual fuel oil and 115,251t of marine gasoil.


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