The port of Rotterdam expects to see its first ship-to-ship (STS) liquefied natural gas (LNG) refuelling operation in June, marking an important milestone in the use of the cleaner burning fuel in shipping.
The opening of STS marine refuelling, also known as bunkering, is significant because it makes the cleaner fuel more accessible to shippers, said Cees Boon, senior safety adviser at the Port of Rotterdam.
“A lot milestones will follow,” said Boon in an email on Tuesday.
In June, it is expected that short-haul sea vessels will be the first to undergo LNG bunkering through STS operations in the port of Rotterdam, followed by LNG-fuelled cruise ships in November and then larger deep-sea vessels by the end of 2019, said Boon.
Short-haul LNG-fuelled shipping vessels have so far only been able to refuel with LNG in Rotterdam through truck-to-ship transfers while at dock.
Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port and bunkering hub, and is actively promoting the use of LNG as a marine fuel.
Rotterdam sold 1,500 tonnes of LNG bunker fuels in 2017, up from just 100 tonnes the year before, data on the port’s website showed.
Shippers are looking to LNG to help them meet stricter emissions regulations in 2020 and beyond.