Hapag-Lloyd is set to convert one of its large containership, Sajir, to operate using liquified natural gas (LNG) as fuel.

Conversion of the 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessel will be carried out as part of a pilot project that aims to promote the conversion of large ships to use LNG propulsion.

The project is also designed to demonstrate the potential of LNG in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 15% to 30%, as well as sulphur dioxide and particulate matter by more than 90%.

Following the conversion of Sajir, the vessel will be able to run on either LNG or low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO).

Hapag-Lloyd already signed a contract with China’s Hudong ZHONGHUA Shipbuilding (Group) to perform the retrofit, which will be conducted at Huarun Dadong Dockyard in China.

“By carrying out this unprecedented pilot, we hope to learn for the future and to pave the way for large ships to be retrofitted to use this alternative fuel.”

As part of the retrofit, Sajir’s existing fuel system and heavy fuel oil-burning engine will be converted into a dual fuel engine.

Hapag-Lloyd Fleet Management managing director Richard von Berlepsch said: “By converting the ‘Sajir’, we will be the first shipping company in the world to retrofit a container ship of this size to LNG propulsion.

“By carrying out this unprecedented pilot, we hope to learn for the future and to pave the way for large ships to be retrofitted to use this alternative fuel.”

Sajir is part of Hapag-Lloyd’s 17 vessel fleet that was originally designed to be LNG-ready. The vessel’s 16 sister ships are also technically ready for retrofitting.

Conversion of Sajir will enable Hapag-Lloyd to execute a technological option to cut the environmental impact of large vessels.