CMA CGM Joins Maritime Leaders in Methanol Dual-Fuel Revolution

French carrier accelerates sustainability efforts with the conversion of 9,300 TEU container ships, aligning with industry giants Maersk, COSCO, and Hapag-Lloyd.


CMA CGM, the prominent French container shipping company and the world’s third-largest liner, has officially entered into agreements for the conversion of a series of its conventional 9,300 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) container ships to methanol dual-fuel propulsion systems. This strategic initiative aligns CMA CGM with industry leaders such as Maersk, COSCO, and Hapag-Lloyd, all of whom have embarked on similar environmentally conscious projects.

The vessel conversion project will take place at CSSC Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding in China, marking a crucial step towards reducing the carbon footprint of CMA CGM’s fleet. This follows the company’s initial order of six methanol-powered container ships from Dalian Shipbuilding Industry (DSIC) in 2022, supplemented by subsequent orders from Hyundai Samho in South Korea, Jiangnan Shipyard, and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding.

Under the leadership of Rodolphe Saadé, CMA CGM has been actively pursuing sustainable shipping solutions. A recent collaboration with Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar aims to explore long-term green shipping fuel offtake contracts. This collaboration will enhance the deployment of CMA CGM’s new generation of dual-fuel ships, capable of utilizing biofuels and e-fuels based on methane and methanol. Currently, the company boasts 35 dual-fuel ships in its fleet, with an additional 84 on order.

Methanol emerged as a popular alternative fuel option for ships in 2023, garnering significant interest comparable to LNG-powered vessels. Industry pioneers like Maersk and MAN Energy Solutions set the stage for methanol adoption in June 2023, with the first engine conversion scheduled for mid-2024. Maersk has also entered into a retrofit agreement with MAN for the conversion of G95 main engines on 11 boxships to dual-fuel capability.

In a parallel development, Seaspan, the world’s largest boxship lessor, and Hapag-Lloyd, a leading German liner, engaged MAN in July 2023 for 15 methanol dual-fuel engine retrofits, with an option for an additional 45 projects. COSCO Shipping has also committed a series of its containerships to undergo methanol dual-fuel conversion at the COSCO Group shipyard, with MAN and Finnish marine technology provider Wartsila selected to provide engines for the project.

These initiatives collectively underscore the maritime industry’s commitment to sustainable practices and herald a new era of eco-friendly propulsion technologies. CMA CGM’s proactive approach towards methanol dual-fuel conversion further solidifies its position as an industry leader in the pursuit of greener and more efficient shipping solutions.

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