Waterfront Shipping has partnered with Vopak, NYK and TankMatch to launch a barge-to-ship methanol bunkering operation at the Port of Rotterdam.

The launch of the world’s first barge-to-ship methanol bunkering operation at the Netherlands-based port was aimed at demonstrating the ease of ‘barge-to-ship’ bunkering.

The operation was carried out by Waterfront Shipping’s vessel Takaroa Sun, owned by NYK Bulkship and a subsidiary of NYK, as the inaugural methanol-powered ship to be fuelled by a commercial bunker barge.

It took place at the Vopak Terminal Botlek of Royal Vopak with a TankMatch-operated bunker barge, MTS Evidence.

Waterfront Shipping president Paul Hexter said: “Waterfront Shipping has been operating methanol-fuelled ships for over five years now, accumulating over 100,000 combined operating hours – and has been bunkering methanol for its methanol dual-fuelled vessels via cargo shore pipelines near Methanex’s production facilities.

“When appropriate safety measures are followed, we know that methanol is safe to ship, store, handle and bunker using procedures similar to conventional fuels.”

The bunkering operation demonstrated methanol as a low emission clean fuel, which is safe and simple to handle, as well as offers a future-proof pathway to a low-carbon future.

Methanol produces up to 15% lower carbon emissions during combustion compared with traditional fuel oil and is MARPOL Annex VI-compliant for SOx emissions.

Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Allard Castelein said: “The Port of Rotterdam fully supports initiatives to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and promotes sustainability for ships calling here and in other ports.

“Methanol has proven itself able to meet our very stringent safety standards and can play an important role in meeting the lower emission goals.”

Waterfront Shipping is a wholly owned subsidiary of Methanex.