CMA CGM Lines Up Methanol Retrofits
CMA CGM has lined up several of its existing containerships for conversion to dual-fuel methanol propulsion.
The French ocean carrier has signed contracts with China State Shipbuilding Corporation’s (CSC) Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding to carry out the conversions starting from mid-2025. The program will reportedly include one or two 9,300 TEU vessels but could grow to up to 10 ships if successful.
CMA CGM joins a growing list of container shipping companies that have moved to convert ships to run on methanol, including Maersk, COSCO and Hapag-Lloyd, as engine manufacturers roll out new solutions capable of using the cleaner-burning fuel.
In recent years, CMA CGM has invested heavily in vessels that run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), but it also placed orders for methanol-fueled newbuilds. In 2022 CMA CGM, ordered six 15,000 TEU ships from China's Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC), and in 2023, it ordered a dozen 13,000 TEU ships at South Korea's Hyundai Samho, six 15,000 TEU vessels at China's Jiangnan Shipyard and eight 9,200 TEU containerships at China's Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS).
A recent report from DNV shows methanol is gaining a lot of traction as vessel owners and operators seek pathways to reduce emissions. Last year, methanol saw a sharp uptick in orders with 138 (excluding methanol carriers), a steep increase compared to the 35 ordered the year before, and placing it just ahead of LNG, the report said. Containerships were the dominating segment with 106 methanol orders, followed by bulk carriers and car carriers with 13 and 10 respectively.