Malta Freeport welcomes its first LNG powered container ship

(source: Wikimedia Commons/NAC)

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Malta Freeport Terminals has welcomed the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered container ship in Malta, during its inaugural trip from Asia to Rotterdam, according to a Malta Freeport press release.

A total of 560 containers were brought in Malta by the motor vessel (mv) Containerships Polar, operated by a subsidiary of the French shipping company CMA CGM. 

Containerships Polar represents the second LNG fuelled vessel put into service by CMA CGM, according to the Malta Freeport press release. In addition, the use of LNG is fast gaining attention as it is expected to reduce sulphur oxide emissions by 90%-95%, as well as reduce costs.

“Malta Freeport reiterates its commitment towards the environment and supports CMA CGM’s initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of its vessels.  CMA CGM, one of Malta Freeport’s shareholders, has been a pioneer in environmental protection and has implemented numerous initiatives to make its fleet more eco-responsible. By 2022, the Group will have taken delivery of 20 vessels powered by LNG,” said Malta Freeport Terminals CEO Alex Montebello 

“Ever since I was entrusted to take under my responsibility the Malta Freeport, together with the entities and stakeholders involved, we created several initiatives to improve our environment and the standard of living of the people of Birzebbuga. By attracting to our country container vessels of this type, we are moving a step ahead towards cleaner seas and a better environment,” said Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi. 

Moreover, the freeport announced a new service between the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the US, in order to consolidate its role in the Mediterranean region. The Freeport currently provides network links to 115 ports around the world, 59 of which are in the Mediterranean.

“This complements other initiatives such as the regeneration of the promenade, afforestation in the Benghajsa area, the recreational park and multi-storey carpark on which works will start shortly, sound-friendly cranes, a double glazing scheme, and several opportunities that we will be proposing and implementing in the best interests of the people living in the vicinities,” Mr Mizzi added.

Malta Freeport has also invested €31 million over the past year in 15 Kone Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs) — which are safer and faster operating gantries — as well as in other yard equipment including 67 new tractors and trailers.