The future growth in adopting LNG as a widespread fuel
What progress do you see being made over the next year?
We’re looking to continue with the infrastructure, the development of the infrastructure, around the world, making sure that we can bunker LNG.
At the same time, I think we’ll continue to see ship owner’s up-taking new construction, as we refine the investment cases, and as the cost of LNG assets, like the engines, like the tankage, and other parts of the vessel. As that becomes cheaper, it becomes more affordable for ship owners, they understand that they're going to have to compete with a better kind of alternative fuel going forward in the future.
What do you feel will impact future growth in adopting LNG as a widespread fuel?
Ship owners are going to have to understand that they have to take action that they have to do something to comply with the IMO 2020 guidelines. Once they come to this realisation, there really are no other sustainable and real opportunities out there; I think they will come to understand that the pragmatic approach is really with LNG. It’s available, it’s safe, it’s sustainable, it’s available in large quantities, and it is available now around the world. So, it is the really only future-perfect solution that we have today that makes sense.
Is there an alternative fuel of LNG as a marine fuel?
Sure. LNG is not a panacea; it is not the be-all and the end-all, however, for the majority of large ocean-going vessels that drive our global economy, LNG is the right solution. It is the most sustainable, and it’s the safest, providing the environmental benefits, both on air quality, as well as the greenhouse gas reductions that the world is looking for. Right now, we really don't see another alternative that's moving ahead safely and sustainably. Some of the alternatives that have been talked about like ammonia and hydrogen; are just not ready yet. They’re not safe yet, or scalable.
Batteries for large ocean-going voyages, they may be useful in a hybrid kind of environment, but they're not available for main propulsion because the amount of energy that it takes to move a vessel across the ocean for long periods of time, for weeks at a time, is very substantial. And other technologies are just not there yet. They’ll come eventually, as all technologies have evolved, but it’s going to take time.
How do you think innovation and technology will support LNG progress and accelerate the use of LNG as a marine fuel?
We’ve seen changes in LNG technology already. For example, engines are getting more economical, piping more economical, we’re seeing fittings and tankage coming along and being more economical. We’re seeing different innovations in the whole process. And that's going to continue because what we do every day is improving what we have; what we’re doing, and we’re going to continue to do that.
The OEMs, the manufacturers, the suppliers are all going to continue to do things to make it more viable, for examples addressing the issues of methane slip and other issues that the industry is facing. Years from now, the product will be somewhat different than it is today, as it is with almost everything in our world today.
How do we ensure certain regions don't get left behind, and help them accelerate the adoption of LNG?
I think it’s interesting that virtually every major shipping area around the globe has somehow embraced LNG. Virtually every major port that bunkers ships have embraced LNG as a product that they need to have available.
Of the 20 top bunker ports today, 19 of them have already funded and/or have available LNG bunkering capability.
The last outlier is California, in the United States, Southern California, LA-Long Beach; they will certainly come around here in the next few months, six months. And then that move will continue. And once we have the infrastructure, once owners feel comfortable that they can, in fact, get the product at a reasonable cost, sustainably, safely, then I think that will continue to move forward the expenditures of capital into the LNG world.
If you look at world trade in general, the growth is in Asia, the Indian subcontinent, that's where all of the products come from. And we know that the Chinese are moving forward with LNG. Japan and Singapore are extremely aggressive and moving forward quickly.
That sets a very strong state for that trans-Pacific trade that is going to have to seriously look at LNG as CMA CGM already has for their Asia-Europe route. So, yes, it’s all very, very consistent with the world-trade patterns we know today.
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