Crowley Maritime Corp. has signed a long-term time charter with international fuels company Shell for the construction and operation of a new, U.S.-built, LNG bunker barge. Upon construction, Crowley says, the barge will be the largest Jones Act-compliant vessel of its kind.
Crowley says that the vessel will help expand current network capacity as well as meet demands for cleaner energy.
The vessel would become the second Jones Act-compliant bunker barge that Shell has under long-term charter in the U.S. It is expected to be deployed to serve LNG-fueled ships that call on ports starting in 2024.
“The new bunker barge will extend Crowley’s commitment to deliver cleaner, innovative solutions to help the shipping industry continue on the path to decarbonization,” Crowley Shipping Vice President Tucker Gilliam explained. “Orders for ships fueled by liquefied natural gas continue to rise, and the vessel will provide Shell an innovative and reliable service to meet demands for more sustainable energy sources.”
The 416-foot-long barge is designed to feature advanced technologies in cargo handling capabilities and increased transfer rates, including what Shell and Crowley Engineering Services say is a state-of-the-art solution to flexibly deliver LNG to various types of LNG containment systems.
The design will offer capacity for 12,000 m3 (3.17 million gallons) and product supply equipment to fully serve ocean carriers, the companies say.
“Shell is dedicated to growing our LNG bunkering network across key trade routes, and this barge supports our commitment to helping provide our customers with the energy solution they are looking for,” Shell Global DLNG General Manager Tahir Faruqui said. “The shipping sector is making progress toward decarbonization, and LNG offers immediate emissions reduction with the potential to become a net zero emission marine fuel given the possible roles of bio-LNG and synthetic LNG.”
The vessel is to be constructed at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is also poised to deliver a different LNG barge later this year to a different client.
“This additional LNG barge will serve as another demonstration of our commitment to building and servicing sustainable maritime endeavors, both in the United States and globally,” Fincantieri Marine Group President and CEO Dario Deste said.