MSC to lease 11 LNG-fuelled Container Ships from EPS

4 mins read  Sealuminati TeamMay 18, 2021

Eastern Pacific Shipping, based in Singapore, has agreed to leasehold eleven LNG-powered containerships to Mediterranean Shipping Co., based in Switzerland. While several maritime giants, such as Maersk, have opposed LNG as a means of reducing the shipping industry's carbon footprint, MSC, the world's second-largest ocean carrier, is betting on the same natural gas.

Confirmed by the sources of both the shipping firms, MSC announced the agreement to lease 11 LNG-fuelled cargo ships from Singapore’s Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) in an emailed comment. The comment was precise, enclosing only the announcement and no other additional information was imprinted on it. On Tuesday, shipbuilding sources told LNG Prime that the dual-fuelled vessels would have a capacity of approximately 15,300 TEU.

Simultaneously, EPS's latest contract follows Rio Tinto's charter of up to six LNG-powered dry bulk carriers. The firm has 23 LNG-powered containerships in service or on order, according to the EPS website. EPS has also chartered 15,000 TEU LNG containerships to French conglomerate CMA CGM. Further, the data reveals that twelve vessels will be chartered to CMA CGM, as well as eleven newbuilds planned for delivery in 2022-2023.

As the divide between LNG supporters and opponents in the shipping industry widens, MSC seems to be betting on the former. LNG now has a pocket full of supporters, highly backed by the kingpins of maritime - Hapag Lloyd and CMA CGM, as well as tonnage suppliers Seaspan and EPS. MSC, headquartered in Geneva, has therefore joined the likes of CMA CGM, which has been the most prolific supporter of LNG for ship propulsion, as the latest organization to support it amid the fact that it is a fossil fuel. Søren Toft, the CEO of MSC (Geneva-based), has previously said that "MSC continues to envisage a range of fuel solutions on the route to a to a zero-carbon future."

"MSC is committed to investing in a sustainable future," the company said in a statement to ShippingWatch. "While the pathway for decarbonizing shipping remains unclear, with no new fuels available globally at scale to deploy across our fleet of 570 ships, this charter should help us to improve CO2 emissions performance, provide other valuable learnings, and keep our options open."

LNG is an increasingly popular alternative to bunker fuel, but the World Bank has recently suggested that investment in LNG is bound to be a "dead end" and would only contribute to slowing down the industry's transition to low-carbon fuels. Maersk too has decided to opt out and endorse other modes of propulsion.

While LNG is becoming a more common lookout for fuel, in view of abandoning bunker fuel. The World Bank recently stated that LNG investment is likely to be a "dead-end" that will only delay the industry's transition to low-carbon fuels.

Being swayed away by it, Maersk has also chosen to step out of the project to support other propulsion systems.