GFS - Conference highlights
The 8th Gas Fuelled Ships Conference, sponsored by DNV GL, took place 13-15 November on board the Viking Mariella. Here are just a few of the highlights from the two and a half days of presentations.
The first day of GFS 2017 was opened by the conference chairman and BIMCO Deputy Secretary General, Lars Robert Pedersen. Most notably, he touched upon the idea that the shipping industry is beginning its journey towards decarbonisation, explaining that LNG and other low flashpoint fuels may be a solution to forthcoming sulphur regulations, but it is just a stepping stone on the way to a zero-emissions shipping fuel.
A keynote address from Kari-Pekka Laaksonen, CEO of Containerships, supported the notion of LNG as a ‘bridge’ fuel. He stated that he believed a zero-emissions solution would be developed during the lifetime of the new gas-fuelled ships.
Presentations kicked off with a session on pricing and availability, within which Karen Sund, Founder of Sund Energy noted that gas can be made available anywhere within a week and that Such infrastructure has enabled some breakthrough gas-fuelled ship orders this year. Sund also reported that a lack of bunker price transparency is a major obstacle for ship owners aiming to use gas fuel.
Also on day one of the conference was a session on Innovative designs for LNG-fuelled-LNG-ready vessels. Martial Claudepierre of Bureau Veritas explained that at present there is development at a global level of LNG bunkering infrastructure, with a particularly high density if projects in Europe compared to the rest of the world. This is facilitating the rise of many gas-fuelled ship project such as the recent retrofit of Wessels’ boxship, the Wes Amelie, and of course the CMA CGM ULCS project.
Day two saw speakers from a background in bunkering technology and safety take to the stage, as well as two panel discussions; one focussing on the long-term viability of LNG and the other on bunkering infrastructure.
During the session on the long-term viability of LNG, talk turned to competition with oil. Some panellists commented on the complex nature of using LNG as a fuel due to the fact that at present, there are no taxes imposed on the use of fossil fuels in the shipping industry which means that LNG has stiff price competition. However, it was made clear that LNG will play a key role in the future of the shipping industry among emerging environmental legislation and CO2 concerns.
The final panel discussion of the day focused on bunkering infrastructure in ports. Panellists presented evidence that LNG bunkering is growing, particularly in Europe and notably in the Baltic. Transparency was touched upon for the second time during the conference; one panellist explains that some of the barriers to bunkering in ports is safety concerns as unions want to know that there is little or no risk to their workers.
If you would like to know more about topics covered at this year’s event, presentations and papers from the speakers will be available to download next week. To take a look at the full programme and see who attended this year click here.
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