French container transportation and shipping company CMA CGM Group has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Engie to encourage the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power next-generation container vessels.

As part of the MoU, both the companies will conduct a joint technical and economic study on the use of LNG as fuel for future container ships.

Additionally, another study will be conducted to develop engineering specifications for a bunkering vessel adapted to LNG powered container vessels.

"With the agreement with ENGIE this allows the company to move one step closer."

The study will also help advance the logistics chain necessary to fuelling LNG vessels, eventually promoting their use.

CMA CGM Group executive officer Farid Salem said: “Liquefied natural gas has many environmental advantages.

“It is undoubtedly the fuel of the future of the maritime shipping industry that will progressively substitute heavy fuel oil over the next few decades.

“CMA CGM wishes to be a pioneer in this area. And with the agreement with ENGIE this allows the company to move one step closer.”

The new partnership will also help CMA CGM’s research programme undertaken since 2011 to design LNG powered container vessels.

In order to realise the goal, the company has already taken part in two different programmes; one for the development of a dual-fuel large capacity container ship.

Developed along with Korean shipbuilder DSME, the design of vessel has been approved by Bureau Veritas.

The second project, which was launched last year, involves the designing of a large capacity container-ship using a combined gas and steam turbine system to power the ship.

DNV, GTT, ABB, Caterpillar, and OMT are also involved in the project.

Image: Deal signing between CMA CGM and Engie. Photo: courtesy of CMA CGM.