France’s TotalEnergies, in partnership with CMA CGM, has introduced the inaugural ship-to-containership liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering operation in the Port of Marseille Fos, Southern France.

The CMA CGM BALI, a 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) LNG-powered containership deployed on the MEX 1 service linking Asia and South Europe, will be refuelled by TotalEnergies’ Gas Vitality as part of the project.

With around 6,000m³ of LNG, Gas Vitality is said to be the first LNG bunker vessel based in France.

Owned by Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), it is TotalEnergies’ second chartered LNG bunker ship.  

CMA CGM BALI will receive fuel by means of a ship-to-ship transfer at the same time as performing cargo operations at the Eurofos container terminal.

As well as performing refuelling at Marseille, TotalEnergies has been selected by CMA CGM for the delivery of gas in Singapore and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

In November 2017, CMA CGM unveiled plans to install its flagship 23,000 TEU vessels with LNG-powered engines.

The group currently has 24 LNG-powered ships in service and aims to increase its fleet to 44 by the end of 2024.

These ships will feature engines powered by carbon-neutral bio-methane and e-methane.

CMA CGM Group operations and assets executive vice-president Christine Cabau said: “This LNG bunkering operation is an important milestone for our group in many ways. It sets France, and Marseille maritime and port cluster, on the frontline for the decarbonisation of shipping.

“It enhances LNG solutions as the first step of a broader industrial strategy that will take us to alternative fuels such as biomethane and e-methane. It is also another proof of the commitment of CMA CGM toward Marseilles and its region.”

Last October, TotalEnergies and Columbia Shipmanagement teamed up to explore collaborative prospects for supporting energy transition.